OAKLAND, Calif. – The final rally of Oakland’s stunning season fell short.
In a year featuring a majors-best 14 walkoff wins, another in Game 4 of the AL division series, and countless whipped-cream pie celebrations along the way, the Athletics’ comeback season ended with another dropped series to Detroit.
Yet nobody thought this bunch of rookies and newcomers would even be playing well into October. And few gave them a fighting chance after falling behind 2-0 in the best-of-five series before Oakland pulled off another remarkable rally to force a decisive Game 5.
The Tigers won Thursday’s clincher 6-0.
Fort Wayne native and Norwell graduate Jarrod Parker, one of a record three rookie pitchers to start in this series, pitched well again but proved to be no match for Verlander for a second time this series. After being hurt by his own error in a Game 1 loss, it was two wild pitches in a two-run third that helped do in Parker this time.
In 29 starts, Parker had a 13-8 record and 3.47 ERA. He struck out 140 and walked 63 in 181 1/3 innings.
The AL West champion A’s became the first team in major league history to win a division or pennant after trailing by five games with less than 10 to play.
Yet manager Bob Melvin had a tough time looking ahead Friday.
If you want to go back and reflect on what the expectations were, probably pretty remarkable, he said.
Melvin was in full support of his team celebrating its feats. Especially considering everything the A’s had endured in the final months. From losing opening day starter Brandon McCarthy after he took a line drive to the head that required brain surgery, fellow starter Bartolo Colon to a 50-game drug suspension and then, the unthinkable: Reliever Pat Neshek’s newborn son, Gehrig, died 23 hours after his birth just before the playoffs began.
I think we’re in great shape, Beane said. The satisfying thing about the crowd last night is they’re going to see, by and large, this team next year.
The A’s payroll of $59.5 million is lowest in the majors, and the A’s won 94 games.