Oakland, California: With September approaching, the Oakland Athletics are showing the baseball world what they believed from the start: This group and its young sluggers are ready to make a play-off push.
Matt Olson hit a leadoff home run in the 10th inning after a video review gave Oakland the tying run in the ninth, and the A’s beat the Houston Astros 4-3 on Friday night to pull within a game of the reigning World Series champions for the AL West lead.
“We’ve known that we’re a capable team, we’re a very good team all along,” Olson said. “We knew it going into the year that we were going to have a chance to make a run, so glad to finally get a little recognition for it and when we go out and win games like that, people are looking at us a little bit.”
Houston has been alone atop the AL West since June 14. Now the Astros are being pushed by a team coming off three straight last-place finishes.
Olson pulled a 3-2 pitch from left-hander Tony Sipp (2-1) for his 23rd homer. It was his second career walk off RBI and first game-ending homer.
“Definitely one of the cooler things I’ve done in my career,” Olson said. “It’s the most juiced I’ve gotten on a field for sure.”
That came an inning after Oakland base runner Ramon Laureano narrowly beat the tag at home from catcher Martin Maldonado for the tying run. Laureano took off from first on Nick Martini’s double to the wall in right field, testing the arms of outfielder Josh Reddick and relay man Carlos Correa — who made a beautiful one-hop throw right to Maldonado’s mitt. Laureano was initially called out, but immediately urged Oakland to challenge the call.
Umpires overturned the ruling after a review of more than three minutes.
Houston was stunned by the replay decision.
“From everything I saw he was out. I have no idea what they saw,” Reddick said. “There was no angle that showed otherwise. I’m tired of getting screwed by replays. That’s not the first time. I’m upset by a call that controls everything. I threw it gunning for home plate all the way. I wanted to get the ball to Carlos. He has the best arm in the infield and the most accurate arm.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin said, “When the play is that important and you’re past the eighth inning, you’re going to challenge it regardless.”
Melvin also thought Laureano was interfered with near third base, where Alex Bregman ran through the baseline a moment before Laureano went sprinting by.
Blake Treinen (6-2) struck out the side in the 10th for the win.