OAKLAND -- The air had completely leaked out of the stadium. The A's were on the brink of a crushing loss in a season already full of them.
Oakland's bullpen had faltered yet again, allowing three runs in the top of the ninth inning to give Tampa Bay a 4-1 lead with just three outs to go. Only, no one told the A's the game was over.
"It was awesome," Chapman said, still grinning from ear to ear. "I'm still kind of shaking from it. That was so much fun. Just a really big win, an important win for us, for sure."
What shouldn't be lost in Chapman's heroics are the clutch plate appearances that preceded him. Robbie Grossman started the inning with a five-pitch walk. After Stephen Piscotty grounded out, Jurickson Profar scratched his way aboard with an eight-pitch walk.
Two batters later, with Oakland down to its final out, Marcus Semien came to the plate with a chance to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. He came through with a solid single to center, scoring a run and extending the game for Chapman.
"It says a lot about our team," Chapman said. "It would be very easy for us to give up those runs and just roll over and kind of concede the game. But we were able to keep taking tough at-bats and put guys on base and get two-out hits and we were able to win that game. So I think that's big momentum for us and it just shows that if you want to be a playoff team, you've got to be able to come back like that."
A's manager Bob Melvin actually missed the game due to a pre-planned appointment to address discomfort in his neck and upper back. Bench coach Ryan Christenson filled in as skipper and witnessed something truly special.
"Just a roller coaster of emotions," he said. "To go out there and go down three like that was a kick to the gut to start the ninth inning. But that's just a sign of what this team has been showing us the last few years. I've seen this group a lot over the last few years, even through the minors, and they never quit. They keep coming back and keep coming at you."
That's a key trait we saw in this team last year, particularly during their incredible second-half run. This season has been more of a struggle, with fewer walk-off wins and far more blown leads. But clearly, the resilience is still there.
"It was disappointing when we went down three in the ninth," Christenson said. "I was a little disheartened -- I didn't give up hope, obviously. I knew that this team has the ability to come back and do what they did."
Of course, it helps when you have a budding superstar like Chapman on your side, especially in the big moments.
"He wants the big at-bats and he comes through in the big at-bats," Christenson said. "It's a special player that comes in here and wants to do that and wants to be the guy. He's a great leader in the clubhouse and when your leader is coming through like that, it just sets the tone for the rest of the team to follow."
Added Thursday's starting pitcher Frankie Montas: "It's always amazing. He always comes (through) at the right time. He's one of the guys you know you can count on even if you're down. He's always trying to pick people up and he's done it again."
[RELATED: Scott Boras Q&A on Chapman, Oakland market]
Chapman, however, was quick to share the spotlight with his teammates.
"Frankie Montas kept us in that game all day," he said. "Marcus was able to get a big hit right there, Profar walk, Robbie walk, so definitely a team effort."