Of the 31 Australians that have played a single Major League Baseball game, Grant Balfour became the first pitcher to record a save in a playoff series, helping his Oakland Athletics escape elimination against the Detroit Tigers.
Oakland won 2-0 on Tuesday night to register their first win of the best-of-five semi-final series, however leading the series 2-1, Detroit needs just one more win to advance.
Returning from injury in his first game since September 19, Brett Anderson pitched six scoreless innings in his first postseason start.
Later on Balfour took to the mound with the task of maintaining the Athletics' 2-0 lead and he did just that. The Aussie faced the minimum three batters; striking out the first, conceded a base on the second and ended any chance of a Detroit comeback with a short stop play against the third.
If you’ve heard of the Sydney Blue Sox then you’re doing better than me, but Balfour’s father, General Manager of the club, David Balfour, was understandably pretty chuffed with his son’s performance.
"To see Grant shut down the Tigers tonight in the final inning was a great feeling," said David Balfour.
"Facing elimination the team played great and seeing Grant finish the game was fantastic."
David Nilsson has been the only Australian to achieve acclaimed success in the MLB; he was an All-Star game selection in 1999 whilst playing for the Milwaukee Brewers. Just three Australians have appeared in an MLB postseason game: Graeme Lloyd for the New York Yankees from 1996-1998, Damian Moss for the Atlanta Braves in 2002 and Peter Moylan for the Braves in 2010.
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