The Grand Slam: A's get walk-off win after controversial call leads to extra innings

Mark Townsend

The Oakland A's have proven time and time again to be a resilient bunch. That moxie was on full display again on Saturday as they overcame a controversial call to upend the struggling Red Sox, 2-1 in 10 innings

Nurisng a one-run lead in the eighth, Luke Gregorson appeared to strikeout Mike Napoli on a swing-and-miss slider low and away. However, home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott saw it differently, ruling that Napoli foul-tipped the pitch and catcher Stephen Vogt didn't catch it cleanly. A look at replays, which were not available to umpires since this was not a reviewable play, confirmed at the very least that Vogt caught it clean, meaning Napoli should have been ruled out regardless of whether or not he made contact.

''The plate umpire heard sound and thought the ball hit the ground and called it a foul ball,'' said crew chief Gerry Davis. ''This type of play happens quite often actually, it's a difficult call for us. And in order to change it we have to positive (proof).''

As it stood, Napoli's at-bat and the inning continued, and soon after Gregorson unleashed a wild pitch that allowed Dustin Pedroia to score the tying run and ultimately forced extra innings.

Once there, Coco Crisp rendered the missed call moot. With a runner on second and one out, Crisp singled to right field off Red Sox closer Koji Uehara, allowing Alberto Callaspo to score the winning run.

'I was taking the approach they were going to come right after me,'' said Crisp. ''I didn't want to wait around for the splitter so I was hoping that he would come in to what I was looking for, and he did. Another lucky guess.''

Crisp also singled home the winning run in Oakland's 4-3 victory on Friday night, so it's safe to say he's the last guy Boston will want to see up in a critical spot on Sunday.

ODORIZZI GROUNDS ASTROS: Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi retired the first 10 batters he faced on Saturday before Jose Altuve reached on a single that actually deflected off his foot. It would be the only hit he allowed in seven and one-third scoreless innings, and it was plenty good enough to pick up his third win as the Rays cruised to an 8-0 win

Odorizzo walked two and struck out 10, reaching double digit strikeouts for the second time this season. It was a dominant performance, but that one little hit still weighed on his mind following the game.

''Tough luck,'' Odorizzi said of Altuve's hit. ''It was coming too fast.''

On the other side, the Rays offense had their most productive game since May 25, when they defeated the Boston Red Sox, 8-5. James Loney led the way with two hits and three RBIs, while Kevin Kiermaier chipped in an RBI double.


Joe Nathan's struggles were already a major concern for the Detroit Tigers. They won't feel any better after he allowed the Cleveland Indians to tie the game in the ninth inning on Saturday night. However, this time they were able to rebound and extend their winning streak to three games with a 5-4 triumph in 10 innings.

Two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera lived up to his title again, knocking home the game-winner with an RBI double in the 10th. Interesting to note, Cleveland actually had an open base to work with, but with the red hot Victor Martinez on deck, instead took their chances on Cabrera. Earlier in the game, Martinez connected for his 19th home run and also singled home a run. 

FISTER LEADS NATIONALS TO MUCH NEEDED WIN OVER BRAVES: For the Washington Nationals to climb the mountain in the NL East, they must overcome the Atlanta Braves. That has been a lot easier said than done dating back to the beginning of the 2013 season, but thanks to Doug Fister's lights out performance on Saturday, they were finally able to make some headway with a 3-0 victory

It's the type of outing Fister was acquired to throw in the offseason. Washington wanted to stack their rotation with stoppers, guys who can snap a losing streak just by overwhelming the opposition. Fister provided that and more, throwing eight shutout innings to pick up his sixth victory of the season.

''He controlled the strike zone,'' Nationals manager Matt Williams said of Fister, who allowed two hits in the first inning but just three over his final seven. ''He wants to stay in rhythm. He works fast anyway. Just because somebody gets on, he doesn't want to change that.''

To the credit of Braves starter Julio Teheran, the game Braves remained within striking distance all game long. He allowed three runs on seven hits in seven innings, while also striking out a season-high 10 batters. It was a good battle, but Washington ultimately reclaimed a half-game lead over Atlanta despite dropping the first two games in the series. Overall, they had lost five straight to Atlanta, seven of eight this season, and 20 of 27 since the beginning of 2013.

In a losing effort, Evan Gattis extended his hitting streak to 20 games. That's the longest hit streak by a catcher in the last 10 years.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!