DETROIT A day after his game-winning single in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, A's catcher Stephen Vogt said he was still wrapping his head around the impact of the hit.
"Haven't really processed what happened (Saturday) night," Vogt said. "It's been a whirlwind. It's been a crazy, crazy few hours."
The A's boarded a plane shortly after the game ended and landed in Detroit early Sunday morning, and Vogt said he didn't sleep well on the flight. So there hadn't been much time to let the moment sink in for the 28-year-old catcher, who began the season in Triple A after Tampa Bay traded him to the A's in early April.
Vogt said he "heard from a lot of people" following what he termed the biggest moment of his career to date. The only thing comparable, he said, was "maybe my first hit in the big leagues" a home run on June 28.
"But this blew that out of the water for sure," Vogt said.
It was certainly more important for the A's, allowing them to even their best-of-five series against the Tigers at 1-1. Vogt lined the bases-loaded, no-out single to left off reliever Rick Porcello, a sinkerballer whom Vogt had never faced and whom Tigers manager Jim Leyland summoned in hopes of inducing a double-play ground ball. Vogt said he was "able to kind of see the sink" on Porcello's first two pitches and gauge the movement before swinging at the right-hander's 1-1 offering, getting just enough air under it to carry past shortstop Jose Iglesias.
As decisive as that hit was, A's general manager Billy Beane praised Vogt's defense. Vogt helped get the A's out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fifth by throwing out Iglesias trying to steal second on Sonny Gray's strikeout of Austin Jackson. He was the 10th runner Vogt has nabbed in 30 chances since being called up.
Beane told reporters Saturday night that Vogt "had a reputation of being a good hitter, a good offensive player. His glove was secondary, but he's done a great job receiving and throwing like he did on that double play. Great game all around."
Et cetera With his two hits in Game 2, Yoenis Cespedes has now hit safely in all seven playoff games he has appeared in the longest career-opening postseason hitting streak in Oakland history. In those seven games, Cespedes is 10 for 27 (.370).
"He's not afraid of the spotlight he embraces it," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "And I think once the postseason started after what was a little bit of a difficult year for him, not only numbers-wise but injury-wise, this is like a fresh start for him."
Cespedes hit .240 in his second big-league season but had his best month in September, batting .314 with six home runs and 19 RBIs.
While A's Game 3 starter Jarrod Parker flew to Detroit with the team late Saturday night, the Tigers sent their starter, Anibal Sanchez, back before Game 2. "I like to work early, so that's why I flew (during the day)," Sanchez said. "(Today) I'll feel really comfortable."
Historically speaking, Game 3 has been a crucial one for the A's in playoff series. The A's have taken a 2-1 lead in 14 previous series and won 11 of them. They have never come back from a 2-1 series deficit in six tries.
Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015, and read his online reports at blogs.sacbee.com/bay-area-baseball.