Yes, Chicago White Sox fans, there was a highlight. In the second inning, Luis Robert led off with a 487-foot homer, the second-longest in MLB this season and the longest in the Oakland Coliseum since Statcast has been measuring such things.
Otherwise, this do-or-die, win-or-go-home, winner-take-all, cliché-of-your-choice game looked liked two teams really tired of playing baseball this year and wanting to avoid another round of playoffs.
It was an embarrassing way to end a season.
Well, except for Tim Anderson, who again had three hits, to set a record of nine for a three-game playoff series.
At least it only took a little longer than four hours. But, in the words of ball fans everywhere, "Wait'll next year!"
Robert's incredible blast gave the Sox a 1-0 lead, so things were looking fine despite leaving five runners on in the first two innings. Two more runs in the third on an Eloy Jiménez double—from which he came up lame and had to leave the game—a Robert single and Nomar Mazara double made it a nice 3-0 lead, and almost made up for Garrett Crochet having to leave after one batter in the top of the inning with the ominous "forearm stiffness."
Crochet was in because Ricky Renteria pulled starter Dane Dunning in the first, a move which started a parade of pitchers longer than that seen in Chicago on St. Patrick's Day. For the record , it was Dunning-Crochet-Aaron Bummer-Codi Heuer-Carlos Rodón-Matt Foster-Evan Marshall-Jimmy Cordero-Alex Colomé. A bullpen game was expected, but maybe not that much bullpen.
Of all those, only Bummer and Cordero could be happy with their work. The A's went down in order in the third, then not again until the seventh.
Basically, the pitching was terrible. But so was that of the A's. The two teams used more pitchers than in any nine-inning playoff game, ever.
After Oakland got two runs on a Sean Murphy homer off Heuer in the fourth, the Sox decided to walk in a couple more, giving Oakland a 4-3 lead. They handed it back on a Mazara RBI single in the top of the fifth.
Apparently not wanting to leave things tied, the Sox gave two back in the bottom half, again with lots of walks involved , along with, for a little variation, a catcher's interference. If you like walks, this was your game—the Sox walked nine, though the A's were pikers for three passes and a hit batter.
The Sox had a chance in the eighth, but sadly José Abreu ended his MVP-caliber year on a 6-4-3 double play. And in the ninth, A's manager Bob Melvin did his best to throw the game back by putting Liam Hendricks in to close after his miserable performance yesterday.
James McCann led off with a single, but Yoán Moncada and Robert struck out swinging, and Mazara watched a called third to end the season.
If you had a side bet that Oakland would leave more on base, you draw, because it was really a 12-12 tie.
So it's wait'll next year for the Sox, and A's move on, breaking a streak of inability to win a do-or-die game that went all the way back to 1973.