A’s Rally To Defeat White Sox, Move On To ALDS
Oakland will advance to the American League Division Series to face the villainous Houston Astros
October 21, 1973.
Game seven of the 1973 World Series.
That is the last time that the Oakland Athletics won a winner-take-all, series-deciding game.
The dreaded streak came to an end on Thursday afternoon, as the A’s erased a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Chicago White Sox 6-4, claiming the series and clinching a spot in the American League Division series.
Chicago jumped out to an early 1-0 lead thanks to a 478-foot solo-shot from White Sox rookie Luis Robert. Oakland starter Mike Fiers would only last 1.2 innings, allowing one run and striking out two batters.
Yusmeiro Petit surrendered two more runs to give the White Sox a 3-0 lead in the third-inning, casting a dark cloud over the A’s chances of advancing to the next round.
Oakland would battle back, thanks to a two-run monster shot from catcher Sean Murphy and back-to-back bases loaded walks in the fourth-inning to give the A’s a 4-3 advantage.
Of course, this is the postseason, so nothing comes easy.
Chicago evened the score at 4-4 in the top of the fifth-inning on an RBI single by outfielder Nomar Mazara.
The A’s offense came through in the bottom half of the fifth-inning, fueled by a big two-run single by Chad Pinder to give Oakland a 6-4 lead.
Once the A’s re-claimed the lead, the bullpen went to work, shutting down a powerful White Sox offense over the final four-innings.
A scary situation unfolded in the top of the eighth-inning, with Chicago putting runners on first and second base with one out for American League MVP front-runner Jose Abreu.
Oakland reliever Joakim Soria got the powerful right-hander to ground into an inning-ending double-play, signaling the end for the White Sox in this best-of-three Wild Card series.
Things got a little sticky in the ninth-inning, with A’s closer Liam Hendriks allowing a lead-off single to White Sox catcher James McCann.
Hendriks, who tossed a season-high 49 pitches on Wednesday, was back out for more work just 24 hours after a lengthy appearance. With the leadoff single by McCann irking some nerves around Oakland, many wondered how the right-hander would respond in the most critical spot of the season.
The All-Star closer would respond by striking out following three batters to seal the game and the series for the A’s, giving the franchise its first playoff series win since 2006.
Come Monday night, the A’s will face their rival from the American League West: the Houston Astros.
Oakland went 7-3 against the Astros this season, including a 7-2 win on August 9th that included a benches-clearing brawl based around Ramon Laureano and Astros bench coach Alex Cintron.
The best-of-five series will also include the storyline of pitcher Mike Fiers facing his old team–a team that the right-hander accused of cheating during their 2017 World Series run.
Playoff baseball brings drama with it, and this series will have plenty of drama.
Make sure to tune in for every game and get all of your A’s vs Astros American League Division Series coverage right here on Sports 1140 KHTK.