The Oakland Athletics played the visiting Kansas City Royals on Wednesday afternoon in the rubber match of a three-game series, with the A's looking to win their first series of the year. They did just that, by winning the game in bizarre walk-off fashion in 12 innings, 5-4.
The A's got on the board first. In the bottom of the second inning, Yoenis Cespedes hit a leadoff double and then got to show off his wheels for a change. With Kurt Suzuki at the plate, Cespedes stole third base and then raced home on a throwing error by Royals catcher Brayan Pena.
Pena redeemed himself for the error in the top of the next frame, as he doubled to center field and then scored on an Alex Gordon single to tie the game, 1-1. The Royals went ahead 2-1 in the top of the fourth inning on a Billy Butler solo home run to left-center field. Oakland took the lead right back in the bottom of the fourth, as Cespedes walked to lead off the inning and Jonny Gomes launched a home run to left field.
Kansas City once again tied up the game 3-3 in the top of the seventh inning on an Alex Gordon home run to center field. This game featured Gordon's first hit, RBI and home run of 2012.
Despite getting chances, neither team was able to score through the bottom of the ninth and the game went to extra innings.
In the top of the 12th inning, Eric Hosmer hit a two-out single off Jordan Norberto. Norberto was pulled for Andrew Carignan, who promptly gave up a double to Butler to put the Royals ahead once again, 4-3. Jonathan Broxton came on to attempt to get the save for the Royals.
The A's had one last chance at a rally in the bottom of the 12th. Daric Barton worked the count full but took a called third strike on the corner for out one. Pinch hitter Seth Smith reached first base on an error by shortstop Alcides Escobar and Jemile Weeks took a four-pitch walk to bring up Eric Sogard. Sogard also worked the count full, but drew a walk to load the bases with one out. With two strikes on him, Coco Crisp was able to pull a grounder to the right side to score the tying run and keep the A's alive. On the very next pitch, Broxton hit Cespedes with a pitch and once again loaded the bases to bring up Gomes. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Gomes was hit in the elbow with a pitch to end the game with a walk-off hit batsman and a win for the A's.
Cespedes, Weeks and Barton all hit doubles in the game. Barton had a pair of hits to raise his season average to .222. Cespedes went 2-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout. Oakland starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy put together a quality start, going six innings while allowing two earned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four.
The Royals bullpen did a great job, allowing just two Oakland hits from the sixth inning on, when starter Bruce Chen was removed from the game.
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