Kurt Suzuki already had produced a stellar day; a pair of solo home runs and a throw to second to nail a baserunner trying to steal.
Then Oakland’s go-to catcher put a game-saving tag on his former Cal State Fullerton teammate to close the Athletics’ 6-5 victory over the Orioles on Wednesday.
He needed this one, too. It’s been a rough year.
Suzuki connected in the second and sixth against Alfredo Simon (3-6) for his second career multihomer game and right fielder David DeJesus cut down pinch-runner Blake Davis with a perfect throw to the plate for a dramatic finish.
“The plays to right field, those are the toughest ones because you can’t really judge where the runner is,” Suzuki said. “I took one last peek right before Dave got the ball to see where the runner was. I knew it was going to be a bang-bang play. I played with Blake in college for three years. I knew he was going to try to slide around me, either that or he was going to try to trick me and try to run me over.”
Brandon Allen tripled and scored on the same play and also had a sacrifice fly for the A’s, who snapped a four-game losing streak Tuesday night and followed that up with another victory for a winning series.
DeJesus—who entered as a defensive replacement for the final inning— flubbed Nick Markakis’ RBI single but recovered to make a strong throw to Suzuki, who tagged Davis to deny the Orioles the tying run. It also preserved Andrew Bailey’s 15th save after he gave up three hits in the ninth.
DeJesus held his breath as he watched the play unfold.
“I’m just hoping that he was out, ‘cuz that would have been ridiculous,” he said. “I came in for defense and was able to make the last out, even though it was crazy.”
Home plate umpire Dan Bellino asked Suzuki to “show him the ball,” and the catcher obliged. And the out call finally came.
“In my mind it took about an hour for the ball to get to home plate. He bobbled the ball, but you have to keep your wits about you,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin, who has been preaching staying poised after a defensive blunder. “He made a heck of a throw. We’ll take it.”
The Orioles were trying for their first road series win since mid-May and a winning season series with Oakland for the first time since going 8-3 in their 1998 matchups. The A’s won this year’s meetings 5-4.
Suzuki also hit two home runs on June 3, 2010, at Boston. Seven of Oakland’s nine hits went for extra bases.
Baltimore wanted to force extra innings. Davis got the go signal from third-base coach Willie Randolph and charged toward home.
“He had a good throw, the ball beat me,” Davis said. “I tried to go around the tag and he blocked the plate pretty good. You can do that or you can just try and run him over. … Looking back, it probably would have been a better idea to just probably go right into him, especially being the tying run.”