Moreland clutch yet again, extends A's win streak to eight originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Mitch Moreland delivered the Athletics their first win of the season, and on Sunday he delivered his second walk-off in as many weeks to give Oakland its ninth win of the 2021 campaign.
Moreland, who A's manager Bob Melvin called upon to pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth inning for Ka'ai Tom, slapped a hard grounder to third base with two outs that Detroit Tigers infielder Jeimer Candelario couldn't handle. The error from Candelario allowed Matt Olson to come around from second, completing a four-game sweep of Detroit, and the A's eighth consecutive win overall.
The 35-year-old Moreland previously had driven a fly ball to right-center field in the 10th inning of an April 7 game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which snapped a six-game losing streak to begin the season.
Facing hard-throwing southpaw Gregory Soto in the bottom of the ninth Sunday, Moreland had fouled off two consecutive pitches that were 98 and 99 mph, respectively. When another 98 mph heater came roaring toward the plate, Moreland shot it the other way with a 102.5 exit velocity, which Candelario was unable to keep in front of him.
"A little unorthodox, left on left pinch hitter right there, but Mitch has been around a little bit and pretty smart in what he's looking for and I don't think he was looking to do too much, just try to shoot it the other way where there were some holes open," Melvin told reporters after the 3-2 victory at the Coliseum.
"Definitely happy I was able to get the job done in that situation. A guy I've never faced before but knew he had a big arm and just tried to compete at that spot, that was the biggest thing. Try to see it and put the bat on it and hope it gets through somewhere and was able to do that," Moreland said regarding his approach in that final at-bat.
The A's have won eight in a row and now stand 9-7 on the season overall, good for third place in the AL West.
Moreland had been a thorn in the A's side for many years prior to coming to Oakland, having hit 22 home runs against the club in his career, the most he has hit against any single team in his MLB career.
Now that he's joined the A's, he's already delivered a pair of walk-offs in his first month.
Oakland's wave of momentum will have an unexpected break on Monday, as the scheduled game against the Minnesota Twins was postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests inside the Twins organization. The A's announcement said pending test results, the game could be made up as part of a Tuesday doubleheader at the Coliseum.
Moreland has delivered when it mattered most in 2021, and the A's will need to keep the train rolling as they look to climb the ladder in a competitive division race.