The Athletics win in walk-off fashion again


I’d be lying if I said I stayed up to watch the very end of this, but the Athletics topped the Blue Jays 5-4 in 15 innings last night — or, early this morning, depending on your time zone — for their major-league leading 13th walk-off win of the season. Coco Crisp played the role of hero, delivering a sacrifice fly to score Jemile Weeks, who led off the 15th with a triple.

Dan Straily ended up getting a no-decision in his major league debut. The 23-year-old right-hander allowed just one run on five hits and a walk over six innings while striking out five. While he got away with a few pitches, he looked plenty good, especially with his changeup.

The A’s handed a 4-1 lead to closer Ryan Cook in this one, but he gave up a game-tying three-run homer to Jeff Mathis with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. Yes, that Jeff Mathis. However, Jerry Blevins, the newly-acquired Pat Neshek, Sean Doolittle and Travis Blackley combined for six innings of shutout relief until Crisp’s game-winning sacrifice fly. Blackley, who was moved to the bullpen to make room for Straily, had three shutout frames and notched the win.

This was actually the A’s second 15-inning victory this week, as they defeated the Rays 4-3 on Monday night behind a sacrifice fly from Weeks. According to the Associated Press, the Athletics are the first team to play a pair of 15-inning games in a five-day span since the Dodgers in 2006.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.