The Oakland Athletics were attempting to pick up a win on Wednesday to ensure a series split in their short two-game set against the Texas Rangers at O.co Coliseum. They were manage to pick up the 4-3 win, but it wasn't without theatrics.
The Rangers opened the scoring in the top of the fifth inning, taking a 1-0 led on an RBI double by Craig Gentry. Brandon Inge led off the bottom of the fifth with his eighth homer of the year to tie things up, but the Rangers would reclaim a 3-1 lead in the top of the sixth on RBI singles from Michael Young and Nelson Cruz.
In the bottom of the seventh, the A's touched up reliever Alexi Ogando when Josh Reddick hit a two-run RBI double to tie the game.
The Oakland bullpen held the score there until the bottom of the ninth inning. Brandon Hicks led off the Oakland half of the ninth and crushed a 1-1 pitch to center field for his first career home run and the walk-off win.
Cespedes is batting a whoping .357 as the DH this season, garnering the A.L. Player of the Week after an 8-for-14 series in Minnesota with two home runs, a double, five runs scored six batted in during the three-game sweep of the Twins. Conversely, he's batting .262 in 44 games as an outfielder this season, which isn't bad, though Smith's .294 as an outfielder this year and .185 mark as the DH is certainly taking a hit in production.
"He is quite the athlete," Bob Melvin said of Cespedes. "You don't want to just limit him to DHing. We have plenty of guys that can play out there," Melvin acknowledged of his fluid outfield."
One this is for sure, the A's need Cespedes in the lineup. They are 34-24 when he plays, and just 12-20 without him, so anywhere he gets his at bats will behoove the ball club.
The good news is that the Oakland Athletics are still performing very well as of late. On Tuesday night, the A's opened up a short two-game series against the Texas Rangers at O.co Coliseum and were handed just their second loss in their last 11 games by a final score of 6-1.
Elvis Andrus hit a two-out RBI single in the top of the third inning to open the scoring and stake the Rangers to a 1-0 lead. Adrian Beltre led off the fourth with his 17th home run of the year and RBI singles from Mike Napoli and Craig Gentry made it 4-0 Texas.
Josh Reddick hit his 21st home run to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning and get Oakland on the board, but he would be the last A's batter to cross home plate.
Oakland starter Bartolo Colon finally came out of the game after seven innings and reliever Jordan Norberto gave up a leadoff home run to Josh Hamilton in the eighth inning. The solo shot was Hamilton's 28th of the year. Hamilton would add a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to give Texas their final insurance run.
Texas starter Roy Oswalt improved to 3-1 by allowing just one run on three hits and no walks in 6.1 innings, also striking out six Oakland batters. Colon gave up four runs on eight hits and a walk in seven innings of work, striking out five and taking the loss to fall to 6-8.
The A's will attempt to secure the series split with a win on Wednesday's getaway day.
The Oakland Athletics have been fairing pretty well considering over half of their original starting pitching staff is on the DL at the moment. As things stand, Brett Anderson hasn't pitched since last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery last June 2011. Brandon McCarthy strained his shoulder in mid-June, and Dallas Braden has been out after undergoing shoulder surgery last May.
Finally, the Athletic's starting rotation is on the road to recovery and what everyone dreamed it would look like last year.
McCarthy played catch today, and the plan is for him to get on the mound tomorrow for a bullpen.