At some point, you have to start wondering if this is all really scripted. Or do the A's have some "magic" recipe?
"I don't really know how to describe the 'magic' word," says Game 4 hero Coco Crisp. "When you go out there and give it your all, more times than not, good results will happen."
"At some point it's gotta just be good baseball," Seth Smith added. "There's no magic recipe or anything like that. We go out there and we play hard, carefree and get the job done."
No, this Oakland team doesn't credit any special superstitions. There are no foot-long beards being grown or rally monkeys jumping up and down on the scoreboard (although at one point during Game 4 there was a "Rally Stomper" dancing). The 2012 A's roster is just full of grinders and players who play the game hard all the way down to the final out.
"There's nothing going on in the clubhouse or anything crazy like that," Smith added. "We go out there and play the game the way it's supposed to be played."
Game 4 of the ALDS was no different, and why should it have been?
Trailing the entire game, a lot of the energy in the raucous Oakland Coliseum seemed to have deflated by the time the eighth inning ended. The scoreboard played the "It ain't over till we say it's over" clip from Animal House and the crowd came back to life.
Josh Reddick, slumping the entire series, came to the plate just 1-for-13 before leading off with a huge single to get the rally started. Josh Donaldson followed with a double to move Reddick over to third, and the Coliseum was shaking again with excitement.
Smith stepped up to the plate and lined a ball to center field for a double, scoring Reddick and Donaldson and tying the game at 3-3.
"I played in Coors where you go to second on everything the outfield's so big," Smith said of his thoughts on seeing his liner land. "My mentality, regardless, because of that is 'go until you can't go no more,' so yeah, I was thinking two out of the box."
"Huge hit," Coco Crisp said of Smith's double. "Gave me the opportunity to come up there and do something magical."
Crisp singled to right field and brought Smith around from second to give Oakland their 15th walk-off win of the season, a major league best.
“Its amazing,” Crisp said after the game. “We’ve been battling the whole year, giving it 100 percent, and these walk-offs have just been our M.O.”
In order to get the walk-off situation in the ninth inning, Oakland needed another stellar pitching performance from their starter, A.J. Griffin, who kept the A's in the game by allowing just two earned runs over his five innings of work. Jerry Blevins was perfect in two innings of relief work, and Sean Doolittle allowed just one run on his relief stint.
Ryan Cook then gave his club an inning-and-a-third of perfect pitching to earn the win.
"We've done it too many times down this road to feel like we weren't going to win," said manager Bob Melvin.
Oakland will turn to Game 1 starter Jarrod Parker in the winner-take-all Game 5 against reigning MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander.at 6:35 p.m. (9:35 ET) at the Oakland Coliseum.
Melvin sums up the A's attitude perfectly heading into the deciding game, "We just don't feel like it's going to end for us."
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand via media credential access courtesy of the Oakland Athletics.
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