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A's ‘fight' on full display in epic comeback win over Rockies

OAKLAND – A five-letter word has floated in and around the Coliseum and followed the Athletics through their rugged 2024 MLB season thus far.

The word “fight” has been echoed and repeated amongst A’s manager Mark Kotsay and several Oakland players while describing the team’s recent efforts – and it was reiterated with great pride following Thursday’s unimaginable 10-9 win over the Colorado Rockies.

Less than 24 hours prior, the A’s were in a similar position – with a different outcome. A late Oakland rally forced extra innings, but Ryan McMahon hit a two-run home run in the 12th inning as the Rockies hung on to beat the A’s 4-3 on Wednesday night.

Despite Wednesday’s loss, Kotsay lauded Oakland’s effort and credited his team for the fight they showed.

The following day, Kotsay sat in the media press conference room and uttered that same word.

This time, it was following a victory. But not just any victory.

Oakland hit two game-tying homers and scored five runs in the 11th inning to secure the thrilling victory and its first series win since May 4.

“These guys, they don’t quit. Today’s an example of that,” Kotsay said postgame Thursday. “The unity that they’ve stuck together. The teamwork that they’ve created. The culture in there came out today, as an example of the win.”

The A’s already have had two 10-game road trips this season. They went 4-6 in their first and 1-9 in their most recent. Aside from the numbers and the records, it was after the first road trip that Kotsay noticed something change.

Kotsay said the guys got together after leaving Baltimore to lean on each other and discuss how they can improve. The team bonding that late April night helped spark something special that Kotsay believes impacted Thursday’s win.

“Last road trip they got together after we left Baltimore and talked about those specific things,” Kotsay recalled. “Losing can always infect a negative culture and it can separate – whether it’s on the playing field or off the playing field.

“We got off that road trip with a day off, I know a lot of the guys spent the day together, bonding and creating that friendship and that unity – and I think today was a perfect example of it.”

It was a similar sentiment JJ Bleday felt Thursday, but the Athletics outfielder credited the team’s fight to the type of guys that fill Oakland’s locker room.

“I think it just shows the guys that we have in here,” Bleday said. “It’s not like we’re the [New York] Mets and have a crazy payroll and all that. We get everything we’ve earned and it’s just one of those things where it’s just not giving up at bats, regardless of the score of the game. Being professionals and not giving up at bats, not just throwing in the towel.

“I’d say that’s where that fight and that character comes from. It’s almost being selfish in that regard. Let’s keep this going. If everyone does their job then good things are going to happen.”

And good things certainly happened Thursday at the Coliseum in a fashion not many have seen before.

Baseball beat writers covering the league for more than two decades couldn’t believe what they were witnessing, and media members inside the press box couldn’t help but laugh at the unexplainable back-and-forth ballgame.

Even Kotsay, who’s been in and around the league for nearly three decades, said he’s never been a part of a game like this, while acknowledging the extra-innings rules were different during his playing career.

It took Oakland seven innings to get a run, but after that, they didn’t stop coming.

J.D. Davis’ two-run homer brought Oakland within one in the eighth inning, and Daz Cameron – making his A’s debut after being called up in the overnight hours Thursday – hit a game-tying homer in the ninth that he later explained felt like a “snap, crackle, pop” off the bat.

To extra innings we went, but things didn’t end there.

Colorado regained the lead in the top of the 10th but Zack Gelof tied it for the A’s with an RBI single in the bottom half.

What a game, but the best was yet to come.

Just as it appeared the Rockies were on the brink of victory following a four-run 11th inning, the A’s did what they do best – fight – and responded with five runs, including a walk-off walk, to cement the sweet, sweet victory.

“For us to completely play good baseball out there was a good thing for us to see overall as a team,” Cameron said postgame. “But things like that [struggling at the plate early] happen during the course of the game and you move on to the next play to the next one and hope to be able to contribute to the team.

“We won it late in extra innings today, a lot of the guys contributed to it so it was a good day.”

The A’s can only hope to build some momentum off the series win, but their next challenge is no small one. They host the Astros (22-28), the team that just dished them a four-game sweep in Houston last week, on Friday for a three-game set at the Coliseum.

Revenge is on their mind, but Kotsay says the team will enjoy this unique victory.

“We’re going to enjoy this one,” Kotsay said. “I don’t want to pass this one yet. This one feels too good. But yes, we obviously know, we wanted an opportunity to play this team. They’ve had our number for a little while and every series is a challenge.

“But I think these guys know where we’re at and what that opportunity is to go out and play their best.”

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