Bay Area Baseball

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April 13, 2013
Crisp, Cespedes hurt as A's notch first walk-off win of 2013

OAKLAND -- The A's extended their winning streak to nine games with their first walk-off win of the season -- after leading the majors with 14 last season -- but saw two of their starting outfielders leave the 12-inning 4-3 win over the Tigers with injuries.

Coco Crisp was replaced in center field in the 10th inning after sustaining what the A's announced was a strained left groin. Yoenis Céspedes left the game an inning later with a left hand injury on which X-rays were negative.

Céspedes was hurt on an awkward slide into second base in the eighth. After he walked with two outs, Céspedes was caught stealing second and appeared to jam his left thumb area tumbling into the base. He knelt on the infield dirt for several minutes while a trainer came out to check on him before staying in the game. He was pinch-hit for in the 11th inning.

"We'll see how he is tomorrow," said manager Bob Melvin.

Melvin said he didn't know how Crisp hurt himself. Crisp played nine innings and was taken out in a defensive substitution in the top of the 10th.

"Somewhere along the line he tweaked his groin," Melvin said.

That left the A's with an outfield of Brandon Moss, Chris Young and Josh Reddick in the final inning. Seth Smith started at designated hitter and Young pinch hit for him in the seventh. The A's forfeited their DH by putting Young in center in the top of the 12th but didn't have to worry about the pitcher's spot coming up thanks to Josh Donaldson.

Donaldson ended the game with one out in the 12th with a home run to right field off Tigers right-hander Brayan Villarreal -- the first walk-off hit of Donaldson's major-league career. The third baseman pumped his fist as he rounded the bases and received the customary pie in the face from Josh Reddick, who returned to dump a water cooler on Donaldson for good measure.

"I've been a part of this team for a little while now and experienced a lot of the magic," Donaldson said. "I've always kind of been the guy that led up to it. It was nice to actually come through when the team needed me to."

Donaldson, who still had some shaving cream in his hair, said he was looking fastball from Villarreal but wasn't sure if he had ended the game off the bat because it was the first time he'd homered to dead right field at the Coliseum.

"I don't really know what it takes to hit it out over there," said Donaldson, who said he has had "seven or eight" walk-off hits in the minor leagues. "I knew I hit it good, I just didn't know for sure."

The Tigers had stranded a man on third in the top of the inning. Ramon Santiago tripled off the top of the wall in left against Jerry Blevins with two outs, but Chris Resop came on and got Austin Jackson to fly out to Young in center to end the inning.

It capped five scoreless innings by the A's bullpen in relief of Bartolo Colon, who went seven innings and allowed three runs, all on a Prince Fielder home run in the third. Colon said Fielder hit a two-seam fastball that he left over the middle of the plate in a 1-2 count. The Tigers didn't score again.

The A's chipped away with runs in the third, sixth and seventh. Eric Sogard doubled in the third inning, then scored when he was picked off stealing third but Tigers starter Max Scherzer threw the ball away. Jed Lowrie doubled leading off the sixth and scored on Josh Reddick's single. Donaldson doubled with one out in the seventh, then scored when Crisp dropped a broken-bat single into shallow left.

"We felt like once we tied the game that we have a good enough bullpen to hold them down," Melvin said. "That's one of the better offenses in the league, and to be able to hold them down, knowing we're short in our lineup and having to do some things a little differently minus a few guys -- the mindset as a bullpen guy is I've got to hold these guys down, and we've seen them do it plenty of times."

Reddick returned to the lineup after missing three games with a sprained left wrist, and made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Victor Martinez of extra bases in the top of the ninth. His return notwithstanding, while updates on Crisp and Céspedes will have to wait until tomorrow, the depth in the A's outfield suddenly appears a lot less deep.

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Email: mkawahara@sacbee.com.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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