Grant Balfour pitches in

YOU’D call him the boy from Kings Langley except that he’s a 34-year-old veteran.

Regardless, Grant Balfour is on pitch and on song.

He was Oakland Athletics’ standout player, recording the final out as they captured the American League West Division title on the final day of the major league baseball regular season.

They defeated the Texas Rangers 12-5 at Oakland Coliseum, with Balfour leading Oakland to the title after they were five games behind with only nine games to play.

The right-handed pitcher appeared in the team’s final five games, all wins, and finished with three saves and a win, while striking out eight and not allowing a base runner. Over the Sydneysider’s final seven appearances, he tossed seven innings and struck out 11 without allowing a batter to reach base.

“I’m extremely proud of Grant,” said David Balfour, his father and general manager of the Sydney Blue Sox.

Balfour is joined on Oakland’s pitching staff by fellow Australian Travis Blackley.

“This is a big step in Australian baseball, as both of them have played key roles in the team’s success,” Balfour said.

The trip to the postseason in 2012 is the fourth time for Balfour. He appeared in the playoffs in 2004 with the Minnesota Twins, and then again in 2008 and 2010 with the Tampa Bay Rays.

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