Angels 5, A's 4 (12). California's Geoff Zahn, a 38-year-old righty having a very good second-to-last year, took on Oakland's Curt Young, a 24-year-old southpaw having a mediocre second year. It was opposite day, apparently.
Young was perfect in the first, while Zahn worked around a Tony Phillips single and an error by Bobby Grich. Doug DeCinces and Brian Downing started the top of the second with singles, but Young coaxed a double play ball from Reggie Jackson and got Grich to pop up, ending the inning. Oakland then took the lead in the bottom of the second when Bill Almon and Bruce Bochte singled, Mickey Tettleton walked to load the bases, Mark Wagner hit into an RBI force, and Phillips singled in another run. Carney Lansford hit into an inning-ending double play, but the A's still led 2-0.
Young worked around a Juan Beniquez single in the third, and Zahn retired the A's in order. Fred Lynn led off the fourth with a single and took second on a wild pitch, but was then thrown out trying for third on a DeCinces flyout; the blunder took on the appearance of additional importance when Downing proceeded to homer, which would have tied the game had it come with Lynn on base. As it was, the Angels still pulled within a run, and after Zahn worked around a Bochte single in the fourth and both starters were perfect in the fifth, a Beniquez single and a Lynn homer put them in front 3-2 in the top of the sixth.
Zahn set the A's down in order once more in the sixth, and Young's seventh was just as flawless. Almon led off the bottom of the seventh with a double and was sacrificed to third. Tettleton then struck out, and pinch hitter Jeff Burroughs and Phillips both walked, loading the bases. Zahn was lifted for Don Aase, who served up a game-tying single to Lansford. Dwayne Murphy then struck out to leave the go-ahead run at third.
California struck back in the eighth. Young recorded the first two outs quickly, but then walked Lynn and allowed a DeCinces single. Keith Atherton relieved and was greeted by a Downing go-ahead RBI double. Reggie Jackson was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Bill Caudill got Grich to end the inning by grounding out. A pair of walks in the bottom of the eighth put the tying run in scoring position, but Doug Corbett replaced Aase and retired Garry Hancock to leave it there.
Caudill worked around a Bob Boone single in the top of the ninth to give his team one more chance, and they capitalized in the bottom of the inning when Donnie Hill led off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored the equalizer on a Mike Davis single. The winning run eventually reached third with two outs, but the A's had maneuvered themselves out of having the DH, and Caudill hit for himself and struck out to send the game to extras.
Caudill and Corbett traded perfect tenths, and Caudill kept the bases clean in the eleventh as well. Murphy walked and Davis singled with two outs in the bottom of the inning, but Corbett then retired Mike Heath to strand them both. In the top of the twelfth, Beniquez smacked a one-out homer to put the Angels in front, and Luis Sanchez retired the A's in order to keep them there.
For a player who entered the game as a pinch runner in the eighth inning, Mike Davis certainly had a large impact on this game. He was stranded in scoring position in the inning in which he first appeared, then took the field in right; this was significant because he had run for DH Dave Kingman, so the A's put their pitcher in the lineup by having Davis put on a glove. Davis then singled the tying run home in the ninth, but his presence also led to reliever Bill Caudill picking up the only at bat in the last six years of his career, with the predictable result of the winning run being left at third. Davis then went on to single the winning run to second in the eleventh, but once that run was left on as well, the Angels were able to win the game in the next inning.
Davis's presence and the accompanying maneuvers helped and hurt in roughly equal measure. The managerial maneuver giveth, and it taketh away as well.