OAKLAND -- They're giving away Coco Crisp garden gnomes at the Coliseum before Sunday's series finale between the A's and the Red Sox. After the way Crisp has treated them the last two days, it's a fair bet the Sox would like nothing better than to see the A's give away Crisp himself.
Crisp followed up Friday's game-winning, eighth-inning single with a 10th-inning RBI single Saturday that gave the A's a 2-1 win over Boston and stretched Oakland's winning streak to five.
"It's always fun,'' Crisp said after wiping the celebratory whipped cream pie off his face. "It feels good to have played a part in a win, always.''
This was a game the A's thought they could close out in nine innings, 1-0, after Jesse Chavez gave the team seven shutout innings. But a blown call by home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott gave the Red Sox added life in the eighth inning, and Dustin Pedroia took advantage to score on a wild pitch to tie the score.
Manager Bob Melvin was so irate that he was ejected from the game by Wolcott after reliever Luke Gregerson got the inning's final out. The A's were convinced, and replays showed, that catcher Stephen Vogt caught the pitch that Wolcott ruled had been fouled into the dirt.
By the time of Crisp's game-winning liner to right field to score Alberto Callaspo, Melvin was feeling better about things, although he was no less convinced of the justness of his argument. Umpire crew chief Gerry Davis told a pool reporter that Wolcott heard Vogt's glove hit the ground and thought he was hearing the ball hit the ground.
"He caught it, (but) you can't review that play,'' Melvin said. "It's tough that there's a play that needs to be reviewed, you should be able to review it. But you can't on that one.''
Davis said the call was a difficult one, that it happens with some regularity around baseball and that the only way to reverse it is if one of the base umpires is positive the ball was caught. That level of certainty was lacking Saturday.
Vogt, who tripled and scored in the third inning, was surprised by Wolcott's call, because he said there was no doubt in his mind that he caught the ball for what would have been an inning-ending third strike.
More than that, Vogt was disappointed that he let Gregerson's subsequent pitch in the dirt bounce away from him. Pedroia, one of the most savvy players in the game, took a huge risk but made it pay off.
"The block got away from me maybe two feet, two feet further than it should have, and he made a great read,'' Vogt said. "It was a great play by him just to go on first contact. He must have been taking a couple of hard steps right away. It kicked away from me just enough to where he could sneak behind me.''
Crisp, who played with Pedroia in Boston, was completely impressed.
"Petey made a good read on that one ball that tied it up,'' Crisp said. "It was an amazing read. He's a one-of-a-kind player. He has that wanna-win in him. It's what you have to have to be a special player. He gives it his all as soon as that first pitch is thrown.''
That sort of describes the A's overall play. Oakland has the best record in baseball at 47-28 in large part because the A's don't quit. And as Crisp pointed out, after being frustrated that Pedroia scored, they got over it.
"After that it was to see who finishes the game,'' he said. "Today we were able to finish the game.''
Callaspo opened the 10th working a leadoff walk from Edward Mujica, then Nick Punto put down a bunt that had Crisp raving after the game. Boston went to closer Koji Uehara (0.83 ERA), and Crisp lined his first pitch for the game-winner.
"I took the approach they'd come right after me,'' Crisp said. "I didn't want to wait around for his splitter. Another lucky guess.''