For the second night in a row, Oakland A's outfielder Chris Young missed a game-winning home run by the slimmest of margins.
On Tuesday night, Young's ninth inning drive down the left-field line came so close to nicking the foul pole, the umpiring crew — led by Angel Hernandez — had to look at the replay several times before sticking with their original foul ball ruling. One pitch later, Young would strike out as the Houston Astros held on for a 5-4 victory.
On Wednesday night, replay was needed once again. Only this time it wasn't to determine fair or foul, but instead to admire a true game-saving, home run-robbing catch by Astros left fielder Robbie Grossman. It happened on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in the tenth inning, and it left Young absolutely stunned on the field ...
... and perhaps a little depressed in the clubhouse.
Said Young of his bad luck: "I'm doing something wrong in life. I need to change. I've been hitting some balls hard, and when you hit balls hard, you need to get the results."
Young was so astonished, he asked to see the ball after Grossman caught it. "I had to make sure," Young said.
Grossman caught it all right, and the A's are officially reeling after the unlikely spoilers from Houston emerged victorious once again thanks to Carlos Corporan's game-winning double in the top half of the 11th. To make matters even worse for Young and his A's teammates, the Texas Rangers rallied late to defeat Milwaukee, which pushes them to two games back in the American League West.
A game of inches? You better believe it.
If one game or even two games ends up separating Oakland from a division championship and pushes them into a Wild Card play-in game (or worse), we may well end up looking back at Chris Young's two swings. Inches — literally — denied him two of the biggest hits in his career, and denied Oakland two games it could ill-afford to lose to an inferior opponent.