OAKLAND -- A running theme with the A's this season is the way a defensive play ignites the offense. In the ninth inning at the Oakland Coliseum, that is exactly what played out. With a runner on second base and two outs, pinch-hitter Jesus Montero hit a screaming liner that first baseman Brandon Moss made a full extension, run-saving, diving catch. The A's then stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth and tied the game. Josh Reddick drew a walk and Josh Donaldson hit a two-run homer to center field that made it a 4-4 game. With the Rangers and Angels huddled in their respective clubhouses waiting out a rain delay in Texas, all they could do is watch helplessly as the A's mounted a comeback of elephant-sized proportion. As the game entered the 10th inning, the Reddi-Wip was, well, ready.
OCTOBER QUEST: Angels-Rangers postponed
Instead of tasting the agony of defeat, Moss delivered a walk-off, three-run home run to defeat the Mariners 7-4, and tasted the sweet post game pie -- two of them to be exact -- hand delivered by Reddick and Brandon Inge."It's whipped cream," Moss said with the stuff still in his beard. "I ate a lot of it. Last time I didn't eat any but this time I ate a lot of it. My mouth was open." Moss' home run was his 21st of the season. It delivered the A's their 90th win, and their Major League Baseball-leading 14th walk-off victory. "There isn't much better a feeling than that," Moss said. "When you are playing a game as a little kid in the backyard that's kind of what you dream of doing. There isn't anything better you can do in the game." Donaldson isn't jealous that he didn't get to taste the pie. When he stepped to the plate with Reddick on base in the ninth inning he had one thing on his mind: Going deep. He took a huge hack at the first pitch he saw and missed. Since Mariners' closer Tom Wilhelmsen threw a fastball for the first pitch, Donaldson says he was expecting a breaking ball to come next and he got it. "I was really trying to hit a home run, I don't know how else to say it," Donaldson said. "It was great to try and tie the ballgame up but Moss was the hero of the game. He won it for us." The A's rallied for six runs in the final three innings but they were stumped by Mariners' starting pitcher Jason Vargas. He lasted seven innings and only gave up one run on five hits. That run came in a very unconventional way. With Yoenis Cespedes on first base, Moss hit a routine single to right field. Cespedes took off on contact and never stopped. As he approached third he ignored third base coach Mike Gallego's stop sign and kept an eye on right fielder Casper Wells who had just fielded the ball. Wells hesitated for a moment, thinking Cespedes would stop, but he didn't. The Cuban-born slugger went barreling for home and beat the throw there on a headfirst dive. "I don't know that he could have stopped him as fast as he was going at that point," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He got from first to home about as quick as you'll see." "He was flying," Moss added. "The way he went into home plate, he was flying."Believe it or not, that was the second weirdest play of the game. In the second inning the A's gave away the lead on a play in which they were charged two errors. With a runner on first base, Moss fielded a ball, tagged first, and tried to throw to second for the double play but missed and chucked the ball into the outfield. Cespedes got to the ball and tried to gun down the runner at third but instead tossed the ball into the A's dugout which allowed the run to score. It looked like a little league play. While most managers would be angry about a play like that, Melvin was relieved."It almost hit our Purell container in the dugout and that would have bothered me because I use that quite often," Melvin said jokingly. "That would have been really devastating if it knocked over the Purell container. We can take a run, we just don't want to lose that." A's starting pitcher Dan Straily's ERA was sanitized of that run, but he allowed three others. They both came as a result of the long ball. Straily lasted just four and one third innings, the shortest outing of his Oakland career. "I wasn't good," Straily said. "I left two mistakes up and that's kind of the story of my day games here at the Coliseum. I just need to continue making adjustments and keep working hard to fix that." Straily fell behind to 15 of the 20 batters he faced. He said afterward that he struggled with his command. He left the game with runners on the corners in the fifth inning and was picked up by another overtime effort of the bullpen. Pedro Figueroa entered the game in relief of Straily and struck out both batters he faced to end the inning. The bullpen ended up throwing five and two-thirds scoreless innings. If Straily has another start this year it will come in the postseason. He is on turn to start the Wild Card playoff game if that is where the A's end up. The magic number to clinch a spot in that game is now at three. Oakland is two and a half games behind Texas. They have three home games against the Rangers to end the season. The Rangers and Angels game got postponed on Saturday, so they will play a doubleheader on Sunday. Oakland could pop the champagne as soon as Sunday if Tampa Bay loses and the Rangers beat the Angels in both games of the doubleheader.