The Oakland A’s are no strangers to bizarre late-game plays, and the San Francisco Giants forced extra innings in Oakland on Saturday night by scoring in rather controversial fashion. With the A’s only needing one more out to win the game, Hunter Pence smacked a grounder that snuck past first base and headed straight towards the Giants’ bullpen. A’s right fielder Stephen Piscotty scurried over to collect the ball and try to throw Alen Hanson out at home, but he arrived late, possibly because of some chair interference instigated Giants reliever Mark Melancon.
A’s manager Bob Melvin challenged the result of the play, arguing that Melancon had interfered with Piscotty. The video shows that Melancon was trying to get out of the way of the ball, though he did move the chair into the least convenient place. An innocent mistake or a cagey veteran move? It seems like Melancon really was trying to make himself scarce, and the umpires agreed.
Here’s a slow-motion replay:
This was a strange game overall for the A’s, who scored three runs off of two hits in the first eight innings, two off of walks and the third on a bases-loaded, no-out double play ground ball. Two innings after Hanson scored to tie the game, pinch hitter Jonathan Lucroy singled in Matt Chapman to walk it off. Yesterday, the A’s won on another walk-off, when Brandon Crawford tried to field Chapman’s choppy grounder with his foot. Jeurys Familia got the win in his first game in Oakland, and the team got this goofy bridge trophy.