OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 06: Kurt Suzuki #8 of the Oakland Athletics congratulates Mark Ellis #14 after Ellis got the game-winning hit in the tenth inning against the Seattle Mariners at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on April 6, 2010 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
It began with a 90-minute rain delay and ended not long before midnight with rain still falling, but nobody in Oakland was complaining as the A's tied the Angels in the ninth inning and beat them in the 10th on Mark Ellis's full-count grounder that scored Kurt Suzuki from third base, giving the A's a 5-4 victory.
The 10th was set up by the ninth, which included a two-out rally against Orange County flame-thrower Jordan Walden. Ryan Sweeney led off the inning and struck out swinging. Cliff Pennington flied out, and Walden was just one out away from his eighth save since taking over as closer from Fernando Rodney. But Coco Crisp singled, and -- with Daric Barton, not a real power threat, at the plate -- promptly stole second base. And Crisp scored easily when Barton drove a long single into right-center field. Walden struck out Josh Willingham, and the few remaining fans settled into their seats for some free baseball.
In the bottom of the 10th, Rodney came in for the Angels. He started off well, striking out Hideki Matsui with his patented palm ball. But then Kurt Suzuki walked, so did Conor Jackson, and both moved up a base when Rodney's high fastball escaped catcher Bobby Wilson.
With the winning run on third base and just one out, Orange County manager Mike Scioscia deployed his five-man infield, which was easy enough since erstwhile second baseman Howie Kendrick had been playing left field. With three infielders to the left of second base, and Kendrick and first baseman Mark Trumbo on the other side, Mark Ellis stayed alive and ran the count full. Afterward, Ellis said, "I thought for sure he'd throw that palm-ball right there ... You figured he'd go with his best pitch right there. But he threw a fastball, and I was just trying to hit the ball up the middle."
He didn't, quite. But he chopped one to Kendrick, who threw home high, and the leaping Wilson couldn't return to earth soon enough to tag the sliding Suzuki, who scored the winner.
With their win, Oakland's just a game behind the first-place Rangers and a half-game behind the Angels.