Miraculous 9th-inning rally transforms moribund team into walkoff winners

  • Athletics Coco Crisp singles off Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde to drive in the winning run in the Athletics 4-3 win in Wednesday nights game four of the ALDS on Oct. 10, 2012 between the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers in Oakland, California. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Villegas, Sacramento Bee)

OAKLAND -- I wasn't there at the time but I imagine this was how people reacted when they saw Lazarus walking around.

Wow. The dude's alive. But I thought he was dead.

Wow. The A's are alive. But I thought the dudes were dead.

AL Division Series Game 4


Dead, the A's were Wednesday night. Dead, like no breath, no hope, no threat. I didn't see any life. Who did? They were dead, season over. Nice run, guys. Thanks for showing up and being young and all. They had four wimpy hits in the first eight innings. The only run the A's scored was set up by a two-base error. They struck out 11 times. Stick 'em with a needle and they don't move.

Did I say dead? I meant D-E-A-D. After eight innings the only signs of life were the fans in the stands. As much inspiration and impact one can have on the field of play by waving yellow towels in the stands.

It's the bottom of the ninth, Tigers leading, 3-1, and in the press elevator afterward, I overhead a couple Detroit officials saying they were in the middle of making plane reservations.

When it started.

"I knew I needed to put the bat on the ball and get on base," said Josh Reddick. "A home run wasn't going to help."

That's Reddick's usual method of hitting, swing like you're trying to bring rain. Not this time. Reddick, he of 1-for-13 at the plate in the ALDS with nine strikeouts, opened the bottom of the ninth with a single off Tigers' reliever Jose Valverde. A nice single. Hardly scary. A mild murmur. Cool. At least the A's get five hits in the game that eliminates them. The Tigers are leading, 3-1, and frankly, the way the A's were hitting, it felt like 13-1.

In this game they hadn't had two hits in any inning.

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