video thumbnail

KC@OAK: Gomes wins game on walk-off hit-by-pitch

OAKLAND -- For Oakland A's designated hitter Jonny Gomes, the scenario was oddly familiar on Wednesday, as Jonathan Broxton's pitch bore in on him in the bottom of the 12th inning, with the bases loaded in a tie game against the Royals.

On Aug. 21 last season, Gomes had a walk-off hit-by pitch when Philadelphia's Brad Lidge drilled him in the bottom of the 10th, giving the Nationals the victory.

Gomes took one for the team again on Wednesday. When Broxton's fastball made contact, it forced Jemile Weeks home with the winning run in the A's 5-4 comeback victory at Oakland Coliseum.

For added measure, this walk-off hit-by-pitch came directly after Broxton hit Yoenis Cespedes to load the bases.

It was the third walk-off hit-by-pitch in Oakland A's history and the first time Gomes, who also crushed a two-run homer in the fourth, had ever seen a game end with back-to-back hitters getting drilled.

"You cover this game long enough, play this game long enough, nothing's going to surprise you," Gomes said. "That's why you play 162, and that's why you come out to the game. You see something special every day."

The Royals had taken a 4-3 in the top off the 12th. Royals designated hitter Billy Butler ripped a two-out double off A's right-hander Andrew Carnigan, scoring Eric Hosmer from first to put Kansas City ahead. Carnigan had entered the game after Jordan Norberto gave up a two-out single to Hosmer.

But with one out in the bottom of the 12th, A's pinch-hitter Seth Smith reached off Broxton when shortstop Alcides Escobar booted a ground ball. Broxton then walked Weeks and Eric Sogard to load the bases, bringing Coco Crisp to the plate.

Crisp grounded out to second base, bringing Smith home with the tying run. Broxton then hit Cespedes to reload the bases, before hitting Gomes to end the game.

"I wasn't very good today, with the walks and everything else," Broxton said. "It started out good, but I just didn't have it."

The A's took two out of three games from Kansas City, winning a series for the first time this season with their strangest victory of the year.

"You never want to see your guys get hit like that unless it's the game-winning hit by pitches, obviously," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I think you like to see early in the season some tenacity and coming back. We had to do that against the closer in the last inning. We didn't try to do too much. Let him throw the ball over the plate. Guys had some good at-bats, but it was a bit of an odd game."

Cespedes was hit by a pitch for the third time this season, but he said he doesn't believe Broxton tried to hit him in that situation.

"Everybody could see that he was wild a little bit," Cespedes said. "He tried to throw strikes."

Right-hander Brandon McCarthy said the A's pitchers will watch the situation closely and respond in kind if Cespedes keeps getting plunked.

"As we keep going, it's something we'll monitor," McCarthy said. "I know the reasons for it. I'm pretty sure they're not intentional. You see guys that are trying to throw him in a lot. Anytime you throw in there's that chance, especially with a guy that has his kind of power. You're trying to not miss middle, so it's just going to run off. But again, if it gets out of control and that's something that we have to do, it's something we'll look at that.''

McCarthy allowed two runs on six hits over six innings against the Royals. He struck out four and walked two, getting back on track a bit after a rough outing Friday against Seattle. McCarthy left with a 3-2 lead but is still searching for his first victory after three starts, despite a 2.50 ERA.

"It was kind of a day that was a fight from the beginning," McCarthy said. "I wasn't necessarily sharp or fresh. Just sort of a day you try to get through. It was good in that regard, but just kind of one of those days you've got to work with."

A's left-hander Brian Fuentes took over for McCarthy to start the seventh, and he gave up a one-out solo homer to Alex Gordon, tying the score at 3-3.

A's reliever Ryan Cook turned in 1 1/3 hitless innings and closer Grant Balfour held the Royals without a run in the ninth and 10th, stranding two runners in the 10th.

Norberto took over in the 11th and pitched a scoreless inning before running into trouble in the 12th.

The A's took a 1-0 lead in the second when Cespedes blooped a leadoff double to right, stole third and raced home after catcher Brayan Pena's throw sailed into left field for an error.

Kansas City pulled even in the third. Pena drilled a one-out double to right-center and scored with two outs when Gordon grounded a single up the middle.

The Royals moved ahead 2-1 in the fourth on Butler's home run to deep left-center. He hammered McCarthy's first pitch over the 362-foot sign.

Oakland answered back in the bottom of the frame, grabbing a 3-2 lead on Gomes' two-run blast to deep left-center. Cespedes led off with a walk, and Gomes turned on Bruce Chen's 1-1 pitch for his second home run of the season.

"That pitch came after I think five consecutive pickoffs with Cespedes over there," Gomes said. "Waiting, waiting, waiting. I was actually full green light. I was hoping his arm angle wasn't going to be where he wanted it to be after throwing over there five times. Sure enough he left a fastball up and I got some good wood on it."

Eight innings later, Gomes ended it without swinging his bat, just seconds after Broxton hit Cespedes.

"You can hit me four times if we win," Gomes said. "It doesn't really bother me much. At the same time we do have to write that down and keep it in the back of our heads and make sure that doesn't happen too much because 98 mph could end your season." Comments