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A's Stephen Vogt is newest playoff star

  • Oakland Athletics' Stephen Vogt points and starts to run after making a game winning hit in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 2 of an American League baseball Division Series against the Detroit Tigers in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

OAKLAND — Stephen Vogt triumphantly raised his right arm as he took off for first and did it again with a celebratory whipped cream pie covering his face. Then, once more for the cheering crowd as he left the field following another improbable Oakland walkoff win.

No doubt Vogt will cherish that moment. Thanks to him and fellow rookie Sonny Gray, the Athletics headed to Detroit tied with the Tigers at one win apiece in their best-of-five AL division series after Vogt's game-winning hit in a 1-0 victory Saturday night.

This spring, the catcher sat for six days in Durham, N.C., wondering about his baseball future. He didn't make the Rays' opening-day roster and figured to start the season there at Triple-A.

Oakland A's vs. Detroit Tigers ALDS Game 2

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A pennant race, let alone playoffs, were never even a thought.

"Just sitting and waiting," Vogt recalled.

Fast forward six months, and he's a playoff star.

Vogt left the Tampa Bay organization for the Bay Area on April 5, traded back home to his native California, only a couple of hours from where he grew up and still lives in Visalia.

"Going into this season, I told myself I was obviously going to be with Tampa and battling for playing time up there and in Durham, playing my three positions, moving around and hopefully hit well enough to get a call up," Vogt said.

Then, there he was Saturday night in a thrilling at-bat against one of baseball's best pitchers.

After striking out twice against Justin Verlander, Vogt fouled off seven pitches — including the initial five — in a 10-pitch at-bat that ended the seventh. His next time up, he lined a bases-loaded single into left-center that won the game.

"The one in the ninth, you come up bases loaded, nobody out, and that's what you dream of. Look for something out over the plate, stay in the middle of the field, just fortunate to come through," Vogt said.

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