Chad Pinder Helps A's Avoid Sweep, Force Game 4 vs. Astros in ALDS

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 7, 2020

Oakland Athletics' Chad Pinder, right, hits a three-run home run off of Houston Astros pitcher Josh James, left, during the seventh inning of Game 3 of a baseball American League Division Series in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The Oakland Athletics have kept their postseason hopes alive after a dramatic 9-7 win over the Houston Astros in Game 3.

Facing elimination down 0-2 in the American League Division Series and down three runs in Wednesday's game, Chad Pinder helped the A's come back with a game-tying home run in the seventh:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Chadwick Pinder’s clutch game-tying 3-run HR 😤 Tune in to the game on #MLBonTBS https://t.co/PFeQc5E8WP

The team scratched two more runs across in the eighth inning to take the lead, with Pinder adding his fourth RBI of the day.

Closer Liam Hendriks took care of the rest with three scoreless innings to complete a hard-earned save.

The Athletics had lost five straight games when facing elimination entering this postseason but came through in the decisive Game 3 in the wild-card round against the Chicago White Sox. The team will hope this confidence will help turn things around in the ALDS.

Houston had won four straight games to begin its playoff run but the No. 6 seed in the AL must regroup after the latest loss.


Notable Performances

Chad Pinder, 3B, OAK: 3-for-4, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI

Tommy La Stella, 2B, OAK: 2-for-3, 1 HR, 2 R

Jesus Luzardo, SP, OAK: 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 2 K

Liam Hendriks, RP, OAK: 3 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 4 K

Jose Altuve, 2B, HOU: 3-for-5, 1 HR

Michael Brantley, LF, HOU: 2-for-5, 1 RBI, 2 R

Jose Urquidy, SP, HOU: 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 4 HR, 3 K


Home Runs Lift Athletics to Come-From-Behind Victory

The A's showcased their power early in this game, with Tommy La Stella, Mark Canha, Matt Olson and Marcus Semien each going yard in the first few innings:


Just the start the A's needed. #ALDS https://t.co/Pl7FnwbhTy


On the Mark. We are tied again in LA. #ALDS https://t.co/1xCVkI06cg

Bleacher Report MLB @BR_MLB

Matt Olson demolishes this HR 💪 A’s and Astros having a HR Derby in Game 3 (via @MLB) https://t.co/dDX2dp023c

Oakland A's @Athletics

Correction to our previous tweet: More like Launch Angleles #RepTheTown https://t.co/OcgKj4ITpx

The production put the team in rare territory for the franchise:

Sarah Langs @SlangsOnSports

The A's have hit multiple home runs in 3 straight postseason games. Entering 2020, they'd never hit multiple home runs in even 2 straight postseason games.

Sarah Langs @SlangsOnSports

The A's have hit 5 HR today, tied for their most in a postseason game in franchise history, and 2nd-most by any team in a game in postseason history Other A's PS game with 5 HR: 1989 World Series Game 3 HR hit by: Dave Henderson (2), Tony Phillips, José Canseco, Carney Lansford

After the Astros regained control of the game with a three-run lead going into the seventh, Chad Pinder then came through with an enormous game-tying shot.

It continues an impressive stretch of clutch play from the third baseman during the playoffs:

Marcus Thompson @ThompsonScribe

Pinder has all 4 of the A's hits with runners in scoring position since 2018

The team showed great resolve by fighting back and eventually taking the lead in the eighth on a pair of sacrifice flies, utilizing small ball to get ahead:

Brian Murphy @knbrmurph

A's, fighting for their lives, excitingly take the lead on a walk, bloop, sac fly. Hope that's OK with the HR Generation! 😉 #MLB

This type of production with the backs against the wall could prove that this A's team has what it takes to keep winning in the playoffs.


Deep Astros Lineup Proves It's Still Dangerous

Many mocked the Astros for their struggles in the regular season, ranking 20th in the majors with a .240 batting average and just 14th in runs scored.

The team has showed in this series there is still a lot of talent in the lineup.

Jose Altuve kicked things off for Houston with a home run, his first of the postseason:


'Tuve tied it. #ALDS https://t.co/4LREIO4fNb

It was part of a 3-for-5 day for the former MVP, who hit just .219 during the regular season.

After going down 4-2 in the fifth inning, the Astros then took control of the game with a five-run fifth:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

A’s-Astros have hit 6 HRs…and it’s only the 5th inning 😳 https://t.co/BHPUxrLLe3


A 4-run 5th #ForTheH and the @Astros are back on top. #ALDS https://t.co/JFJaMejpXo

By this point, it was clear Houston was back as a dominant offense:

Randy McIlvoy @KPRC2RandyMc

Think the #Astros bats are alive and well in the ALDS so far? BA's: Springer .545 , Altuve .500, Brantley .333, Bregman .400, Correa .333

Zachary D. Rymer @zachrymer

Even after they dropped a 10-spot on the A's in Game 1, I still felt like I needed the Astros offense to prove it. I'm on board now. The offense is back. And if that doesn't change everything, it sure changes a lot.

Six different players had at least one RBI in the game, creating unique challenges for opposing pitchers.

The pitching didn't hold up its end of the bargain, though, with Jose Urquidy allowing four runs in his start and Josh James struggling out of the bullpen. This kept the team from winning Game 3, but it's clear the Astros are going to be a tough team to wrench the series from.  


What's Next?

The two teams will return for Game 4 Thursday at 3:35 p.m. ET; neither team has announced a starter.