Fresh off a game-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth, A’s designated hitter Ryon Healy gave a glimpse as to why manager Bob Melvin loves his makeup.
As reporters gathered at Healy’s locker Sunday following an 8-6 win over the Detroit Tigers at the Coliseum, the second-year player stepped forward.
“Let’s do this,” Healy said. “I’ve gotta go lift.”
Healy also did the heavy lifting in Oakland’s second walk-off win in two days, delivering a towering home run to left field to touch off a celebration nearly identical to the one in the previous evening’s 6-5 win over the Tigers. Adam Rosales hit a two-run single to end Saturday’s game.
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On Sunday, once again, it came off closer Francisco Rodriguez, a 16-year veteran who wasn’t fooling anyone from the outset in front of a crowd of 23,227. Rajai Davis walked to open the inning, followed by a game-tying double to left center by Jed Lowrie and a solid line out to left by Khris Davis.
Healy’s home run, his sixth of the season and second in two days, came on the second of two fastballs and was high enough that there was at least some doubt it would carry the distance.
“I honestly didn’t know,” Healy said. “I was just hoping it wasn’t going to hit the seagulls.”
The back-and-forth win gave the A’s a series win over the Tigers after having lost their last three series. Healy struck the final blow, but there were plenty of other heroes as the A’s improved to 14-17.
“Similar to last night, there were so many contributions from so many guys today,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
Until the ninth-inning magic returned, the A’s looked destined to waste an encouraging if hard-luck effort by starting pitcher Sonny Gray and another home run by Yonder Alonso, this one a two-run shot in the fourth inning that gave Oakland a 4-1 lead.
Alonso’s home run was his fourth of the series and ninth of the season, tying a career high in 2012 in which he had 619 plate appearances and played in 155 games.
“I was joking today, I’m going to start rubbing my body with his bats so I can get some of his good juju,” Healy said.
Gray breezed into the fifth inning with a 4-1 lead, but in part because of an Alosno error and in part because of some bad breaks and fortuitous defensive Detroit swings that resulted in hits. Gray ended up being charged with four runs – only one of them earned – and 4 2/3 innings pitched.
The A’s took a 2-1 lead in the third on an RBI double by Adam Rosales and a run-scoring single by Rajai Davis, and were up 4-1 after Alonso’s two-run blast in the fourth.
After the Tigers tied it against Gray and reliever Ryan Dull – with a wild pitch by Dull plating the tying run – Trevor Plouffe singled in the lead run to make it 5-4 in the sixth.
Dull, however, served up two-run home run to James McCann in the sixth on an 0-2 pitch to put the Tigers up 6-5, and it stayed that way until the ninth.
Keeping the Tigers at bay were rookie right-hander Bobby Wahl, who pitched two scoreless innings, and Santiago Casilla, who worked a 1-2-3 ninth and evened his record at 1-1.
“I mean, where are we without Bobby Wahl throwing two innings there?,” Melvin said. “We’re one run down and down some guys in the bullpen and somebody else has to step up.”
It was Healy’s second walk off homer – he had one last year as a rookie – and Melvin believes there will be more to come.
“He’s very understanding of how he needs to channel his emotions, but you never want to take that away from him, and that’s what makes him who he is,” Melvin said. “He wants to be up in that situation. He can’t wait for those.”
Lowrie is looking forward to see what Monday brings when the A’s begin a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels.
“I think momentum absolutely carries over,” Lowrie said. “When you’re playing well, you show up to the park the next day, there’s a different energy in the clubhouse.”