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Chris Carter Blasts the A's Back to .500 with 11th-Inning Walk-Off Home Run

Carter's no-doubt homer lifts the A's to .500.
Carter's no-doubt homer lifts the A's to .500.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Clarence Baldwin JrAnalyst IJuly 7, 2012

Has that ball landed yet?

That's got to be the first thought as Chris Carter hit an absolute missile to left-center field in the second deck as the A's beat the Mariners 4-1 in 11 innings Friday night to get back to .500 on the year. The three-run home run was Carter's third of the year in just four games. 

Jordan Norberto pitched a scoreless 11th inning to get the win, but Tom Milone's start was the story.

Over seven masterful innings, Milone struck out a career-high nine Mariner hitters and allowed only six hits and a walk. The only run came in the Mariners' first inning as they strung together three hits, including an RBI single by Kyle Seager. 

For a while, it seemed as if that single run might hold up against the A's as Kevin Millwood kept Oakland's offense completely in check. But in the eighth inning, the A's rallied to tie with an RBI single by Jemile Weeks after pinch-hitter Brandon Hicks nearly tied the score with a long opposite-field double.

Both teams had chances in the ninth and the A's had a shot in the 10th, but Weeks lined into an unassisted double play to shortstop Munenori Kawasaki. 

After Norberto kept the score tied, the A's won in the 11th as singles by Josh Reddick and Seth Smith set the stage for Carter, pinch-hitting for Brandon Moss. On the first good pitch he saw, Carter detonated a 95-mile-per-hour fastball approximately 460 feet to left-center to end the game and give the A's their fifth straight win.

 

Good

Chris Carter. The man I have been begging to see get an extended chance is showing that he is ready to make the most of his third opportunity with the A's.

To come in cold (literally, as it was 58 degrees at the time of his at-bat) and take a decent pitch and mash it the way he did, well this is the man much of baseball was so high on. A platoon of Moss and Carter gives the A's a power threat at first base they have not had consistently since Jason Giambi departed. 

 

Bad

N/A. Instead of coming down too hard on the Oakland's lack of offense through the first 10 innings, credit should be given to Seattle's pitching. Kevin Millwood was just sensational tonight. But the A's hung around until they could tie the game and ultimately, they won it.

 

Ugly

N/A. Absolutely nothing ugly about a fifth straight win and getting back to .500 on the year. To remember that this team lost nine games in a row not too long ago, credit (again) has to be given to Bob Melvin. It's just incredible how hard this team plays, and it starts directly with the skipper. It is high time he begins to get some consideration for AL Coach of the Year.

Now 42-42, the A's will attempt to get over .500 for the first time in about six weeks as Jarrod Parker looks to continue his brilliant pitching against Seattle's Jason Vargas. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. PT Saturday.

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