Michael Cuddyer came crashing into home and Michael Wuertz knew he had to cover the plate after his wild pitch. The Oakland reliever reached out and did his best to make the play.
That’s how this crazy slugfest finally ended – 3 hours, 32 minutes, 39 hits and 27 runs later.
“After that out was made, I was thinking, ‘What just happened,”‘ Wuertz said Monday night following the Athletics‘ improbable 14-13 comeback victory in which they rallied from 10 runs down to beat Minnesota.
Matt Holliday hit a tying grand slam in the seventh inning and Jack Cust followed with another drive in a game featuring eight home runs. Holliday also had a two-run shot in the largest comeback in Oakland history. The franchise’s most famous rally came when the Philadelphia A’s trailed 8-0 in Game 4 of 1929 World Series before scoring 10 runs in the seventh to beat the Cubs 10-8.
Craig Breslow (3-4) got the win and Wuertz finished for his third save in four chances.
Cuddyer was thrown out by catcher Kurt Suzuki trying to score from second. He appeared to be safe and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire stepped between him and plate umpire Mike Muchlinski as the outfielder argued the call. Cuddyer slammed his helmet down and later said, “There’s no doubt in my mind I was safe.”
“Definitely Cuddy was safe, there’s no doubt about it,” Gardenhire said. “We just had a little bit of a bad call there. But we also shot ourselves in the foot enough out there pitching-wise, so it’s hard to say he blew it because we did enough blowing it ourselves.”
Justin Morneau hit his second grand slam this season and a three-run homer for a career-high seven RBIs, but the Twins couldn’t hold a 12-2 lead and matched their biggest collapse ever. They also blew a 10-run lead on Sept. 28, 1984, at Cleveland.
Holliday connected for his fourth career slam off Jose Mijares (0-2) and had his 12th career multihomer game.
Morneau hit his sixth career slam and 11th homer against the A’s in the second to stake Nick Blackburn to an 8-2 lead. Then Cuddyer connected for the Twins‘ fourth set of back-to-back homers this season. Morneau homered again in the third to chase A’s starter Gio Gonzalez and doubled in the fifth.
Jason Kubel also had a three-run homer for the Twins, who allowed their most hits and runs of 2009.
The A’s had twice before rallied from eight runs down to win – on Aug. 21, 2006, against Toronto and June 18, 1993, against Kansas City. The franchise record is also the major league record. That came on June 15, 1925, against Cleveland when the Philadelphia A’s scored 13 runs in the bottom of the eighth to win 17-15, coming back from 12 runs down.
Combined with Cleveland’s 11-10 victory over Tampa Bay on May 25, it marked the first time two teams overcame 10-run deficits in victories in the same season since 1989, according to STATS LLC. Toronto overcame a 10-0 deficit to beat Boston 13-11 in 12 innings that June 4 and Philadelphia rallied from 10-0 down to beat Pittsburgh 15-11 four days later.
“Crazy game. I’ve never really been a part of a comeback like that,” Cust said. “They got off to a big lead. We just didn’t give up. All year we’ve been doing that.”
Kubel’s fourth career homer at the Coliseum landed well up the elevated right-field bleachers in the first inning.
The A’s stuck with Gonzalez despite the early onslaught, certainly in part because they’re in a stretch with 28 games in as many days.
Minnesota, making its second trip to Oakland this season, has 12 home runs in its last six games and has hit at least one homer in 16 of its last 17. The Twins‘ first 12 runs came with two outs.
Blackburn and Gonzalez combined to allow 23 hits and 18 earned runs with six homers. Oakland’s 22 hits were a season high – and they didn’t have a strikeout.
“When you give up 22 hits you’re not supposed to win anyway,” Gardenhire said. “We gave up 22 hits, 14 runs and the amazing thing was we still should have won the game.”
It was just the fifth time since 1980 that a team had at least 20 hits in a game with no strikeouts. The last time it happened was also by the A’s, who had 24 hits in a 16-0 win over San Francisco on June 26, 2005.
“In my three years here, I haven’t seen the ball leave the park like that,” Cust said. “All those hits and no strikeouts, when I’m on the team we at least have one.”
Daric Barton hit a two-run homer after being called up from Triple-A Sacramento to replace Jason Giambi, who went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right quadriceps muscle. Orlando Cabrera doubled in two runs for the A’s.
Minnesota RHP Kevin Slowey, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right wrist, is scheduled to throw another bullpen session Wednesday before beginning a rehab assignment with a start for Triple-A Rochester on Saturday. … It was a cool 59 degrees at first pitch. … It was Morneau’s 11th career multihomer game.