OAKLAND, Calif. – Sure, most of these young Oakland Athletics might barely remember some of the gut-wrenching October losses over the past two decades.
Two recent defeats were plenty fresh enough to motivate manager Bob Melvin’s slugging, happy-go-lucky A’s.
Oakland finally ended 14 years of postseason futility, riding Chad Pinder’s go-ahead, two-run single in the fifth inning and repeated costly walks by Chicago’s relievers to rally past the White Sox 6-4 on Thursday and win the decisive third game of their AL wild-card round series.
“Not everybody's been part of all that,” Melvin said. “We've had a couple of tough ones in the last two years.”
The AL West champions lost the opener, then won on consecutive days at home and advanced to a Division Series against the rival Houston Astros starting Monday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The winner of that matchup faces the New York Yankees or Tampa Bay for a spot in the World Series.
Sean Murphy hit a two-run homer in the fourth against Codi Heuer as A's wives and families cheered from suites high above the diamond.
Players held a subdued celebration afterward. No Champagne showers.
"We’re doing what we did all year, and that’s following the protocols,” Melvin said.