7:52 PM ET
ESPN News Services
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics 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.
The AL West champions lost the opener, then won on consecutive days and advanced to a division series against the rival Houston Astros starting Monday in Los Angeles. The winner of that matchup faces the New York Yankees or Tampa Bay for a spot in the World Series.
Oakland stopped a nine-game losing streak in winner-take-all postseason games, a major league record that dated to the 1973 World Series. The A’s had lost six straight playoff series since sweeping Minnesota in the 2006 ALDS only to get swept by Detroit in the ALCS.
And what a relief for manager Bob Melvin’s slugging, happy-go-lucky A’s bunch that won 97 games each of the past two seasons