A's ecstatic after wild win
The Oakland Athletics have many things to be thankful for this morning. Luck. Clutch hits. An outstanding bullpen. And so after two come-from-behind victories against the Red Sox, the A's feel fortunate to have a two-game lead over Boston in the wild-card standings.
"Oh, it's a gift," said Oakland first baseman Scott Hatteberg, after his squad rallied and beat the Sox, 8-6, in front of 34,798 at Fenway Park. "These wins propel you -- you gain confidence. Hopefully this will propel us."
Oakland relievers did not allow a run and scattered only seven hits. Offensively, manager Ken Macha's crew plated seven runners after starter Ted Lilly's exit in the fourth -- including four in the eighth -- to scratch and claw its way to a win.
"These two wins definitely are attributed to the bullpen," said Macha. "[Chad] Bradford and [Ricardo] Rincon were in there the last two days in a row . . . it was a great comeback here in Boston."
After Erubiel Durazo homered in the top of the second to tie the game at 1-1, Boston pitcher Tim Wakefield settled down. His knuckleball floated and fluttered to catcher Doug Mirabelli, frustrating Oakland batters. He was pulled after giving up a bloop hit to Mark Ellis in the seventh.
"We were glad Wakefield was out," said A's third baseman Eric Chavez. "We didn't want to face him again."
One inning later, with Boston closer Byung Hyun Kim on the hill, the A's turned on the faucet and let the water run. By the end of the eighth, a 6-4 deficit became an 8-6 lead.
Hatteberg played a big role in that fateful frame, lacing a single to right field on an 0-2 pitch, scoring Durazo with the tying run. Ellis then reached first on a fielder's choice, and earned an RBI because Mirabelli couldn't handle third baseman Bill Mueller's throw to the plate.
So how did Oakland come back from a 2-0 deficit Tuesday night and a 6-2 hole last night?
"I gotta say one thing, our guys don't stop fighting," said Macha. "We got some good work out of our bullpen. a tribute to our team."
And with both teams scrounging for playoff spots, only the strongest team will survive.
"I've been trying to say this all along that every game is important, regardless of who we're playing," said Macha. "The guys have been grinding their teeth . . . that's exactly what happened out there tonight."
Lilly, who gave up six earned runs, gave credit to the Sox for sticking with the A's the last two nights. "They have a pretty competitive group of guys over there. But at the same time, we didn't fold when I really made it difficult for us."
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