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.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.