OAKLAND -- May has been a rather rough month for Alberto Callaspo, but the veteran infielder has shown signs of life at the plate as of late, particularly in a crucial at-bat in the A's walk-off win against Detroit on Wednesday.
While the at-bat resulted in a groundout to second base, Callaspo made Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez throw nine pitches to push his pitch count to 109. He fouled off six of those nine pitches, including four with two strikes.
Before the ninth inning, Sanchez had surrendered just two hits without allowing a runner past second base. Callaspo's at-bat was vital in forcing the Tigers to go to closer Joe Nathan, who gave up a walk-off, three-run homer to Josh Donaldson.
"It really started out with Callaspo, because that's the one that probably wore [Sanchez] out and got him out of the game," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "If that's a two-pitch at-bat and then Coco [Crisp] doubles, then it's maybe a little different situation to deal with for them. But that was an awfully key at-bat.
"We've talked about, sometimes, early in games, getting pitch counts up and making guys work. There's something to it a little bit later in the game, body blows or whatever you want to correlate it to. But that was a key at-bat that really made him work and went a long way in getting him out of the game."
Callaspo, who is 6-for-18 over his last six games after going just 18-for-102 over his previous 31 contests, was back in the lineup Thursday for the fifth time in six days, playing first base in a matchup against right-hander Rick Porcello.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.