It’s as if Crash Davis actually got his shot.
Brian O’Keefe spent nine seasons in the minor leagues before being called up Friday after Seattle Mariners backup catcher Curt Casali was placed on the paternity list.
So there was O’Keefe, 10 hours into his first day in the majors, celebrating in the clubhouse following the game in which the Mariners clinched their first postseason berth since 2001. Even Davis, the fictional star of the movie “Bull Durham,” couldn’t sell that script.
O’Keefe made his major-league debut Saturday, getting a hit in his second at-bat in a 5-1 victory against the visiting Oakland Athletics. He might get another chance when the teams conclude their three-game series Sunday in Seattle.
“It was special,” O’Keefe said. “Obviously (Friday) night and then (Saturday), I don’t think you could script a better first few days in the big leagues. I’ve waited a long time for this and to do this in front of my family was extremely special, but to do it on a team that hasn’t made the postseason in 21 years and to be there for the night when we clinched and then today with the fans, the atmosphere, I mean, just absolutely incredible.”
Of course, O’Keefe knew he might be in for something extraordinary when he got recalled.
“Obviously, I knew what the circumstances were and that the magic number was one,” he said. “Coming in here (Friday), you could just feel it. It’s been a long time since Seattle has been back to the playoffs and to be a part of it was really special.”
The Mariners (87-70), winners of four consecutive games, currently hold the second of three American League wild-card slots, a game-and-a-half behind Toronto and a game-and-a-half ahead of Tampa Bay. If they can catch the Blue Jays, against whom they hold the tiebreaker because they won the season series, they’d host a first-round playoff series.
After Seattle allowed a run in the top of the first on Saturday, Sam Haggerty hit a two-run single in the bottom of the inning and Luis Castillo retired the final 16 batters faced.
“This is one of those games that with everything that happened (Friday) night, and you really felt it in the first inning for sure that we don’t win this game unless this building was pretty full today,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “So a big shout out to the fans showing up.”
The A’s (56-102) suffered their sixth consecutive defeat as they battle Washington (55-103) to avoid the worst record in the majors.
Rookie left-hander JP Sears pitched six scoreless innings after opener Adam Oller struggled in the first.
“I thought Sears did a great job commanding the baseball, utilizing the fastball at the top of the zone,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “His off-speed pitches got some swings and misses. … The outing was great to end the year on.”
Oakland right-hander James Kaprielian (4-9, 4.43 ERA) is scheduled to go up against Seattle lefty Robbie Ray (12-11, 3.58) in the series finale.
Kaprielian is 3-1 with a 4.37 ERA in 10 career appearances against the Mariners, with five previous starts against them this season.
Ray is 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA in six career starts against the A’s, with four of those coming this season.