For the first time since 1992, the A's are on their way to the American League Championship Series (ALCS), following the club's 8-3 victory and series sweep of the favored Minnesota Twins. In front of a sellout crowd nearing 36,000, including my wife and me, the A's pushed out to an early 4-0 lead, and padded on when the Twins tried to answer back. When Huston Street got the Twins to pop out meekly to left field to end the game, the team's players rushed the mound for a frenzied celebration that continued into the clubhouse, their second such celebration in a few weeks, with hopes that two more may be coming soon - through the World Series.
3rd basman Eric Chavez' homer really set the tone of the day. He didn't just hit it hard, he CRUSHED it, putting the A's on the board first. Following an RBI by pesky shortstop Marco Scutaro to make it 2-0, right fielder Milton Bradley CRUSHED a two-run homer to center making it 4-0. Meanwhile, starting pitcher Dan Haren battled through, keeping the lead and stranding guys right and left, leaving after six innings.
And Marco Scutaro wasn't nearly done. Even after seeing him make clutch hit after hit during the season's stretch, his heroics never get tired. With the bases loaded, and the score 5-2, he clubbed a double as the sellout crowd chanted his name. You KNEW he was going to do it, and then he did it. From our seats, we made sure section 114 chanted Marco (boom boom) Scutaro (Boom Boom Boom) until we were all hoarse. Every single A's player running back on the field during the inning change had to pay homage to his hitting prowess, including his new double play partner, D'Angelo Jimenez.
I loved the energy. I loved seeing the celebration in Oakland, the first time I've ever seen a clinching game. I loved our being given towels to wave during the game and seeing a handful of friends from Athletics Nation. I love the fact that Thomas didn't have to hit a home run for us to win. I love the fact we're in the ALCS and can rest up while the Tigers smack around the Yankees. They can go the full five and go extra innings in every game until they should both quit.
THIS TEAM IS GOING PLACES. We are IN IT TO WIN IT and WIN IT we are doing. Go A's!
Game Recaps: Athletics Nation and Yahoo! Sports