BOSTON -- Yoenis Cespedes didn't help his injured hamstring by busting it down the first base line in the 10th inning Sunday. But that burst of speed helped the A's tremendously, providing the game-winning RBI on a ball hit less than 90 feet.
That salvaged a 3-2 win over the Boston Red Sox and averted a three-game sweep in the A's only scheduled visit to Fenway Park this season.
It was a victory that probably cost the A's the use of outfielder Josh Reddick, who suffered a sprained left ankle, for at least a day or two.
The club also has to be concerned about Cespedes, who has been hitting up a storm since missing four games on the 6-4 trip after his left hamstring started barking. Now it's barking again. Cespedes' run to first Sunday beat the throw by third baseman Will Middlebrooks with the bases loaded and two outs, allowing Jed Lowrie to break a 2-all tie.
Jim Johnson pitched a scoreless bottom of the 10th to secure the win after getting the A's out of a jam in the ninth by getting Jonny Gomes to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Cespedes said he didn't feel the hamstring while making his mad dash to first in the 10th. "It started to hurt a little when I stopped running," he said.
After the game, he had ice packs on both knees and hamstrings, one reason the A's are likely to bring an outfielder to Oakland before Monday's game with the Seattle Mariners.
Cespedes doesn't want to come out of the lineup when the A's (19-12) face Seattle in the first of four games, including a doubleheader Wednesday. He played in six games on the trip and went 7 for 21 with four doubles and six RBIs.
"I can play when it hurts a little," the left fielder said. "Why should I stop now?"
Reddick, who was getting his ankle iced after the game, doesn't want to come out of the lineup, either. But he had to be assisted off the field after grounding into an inning-ending double play in the ninth, completing a miserable weekend for the right fielder. He went 0 for 10 with five double plays against his old team, then suffered the ankle injury trying to get out of the batter's box.
"There was a nice big hole in the box," Reddick said. "I'm hoping it's not too serious."
Manager Bob Melvin, who likes to take it easy with ankle injuries, said he will wait to see how Reddick feels when he gets to the park Monday before deciding the next course of action.
As the A's left Boston, they knew they had come up big in what baseball types call "character wins." After losing two games and hitting not a lick, the A's survived bad calls, another challenged play that went against them and errors that could have crippled them.
"No question it was a character win," Melvin said. "We'd just had two games where we got it handed to us. And we win it in the end with a left fielder limping around and the bench empty."
Starting pitcher Sonny Gray was clinging to a 2-1 lead in the seventh when Boston catcher A.J. Pierzynski homered to tie it up.
Later in that inning, a windblown fly ball messed with Reddick, resulting in an error that put runners on second and third with no one out. But lefty Fernando Abad got two quick outs, then righty Luke Gregerson got Dustin Pedroia to ground out to preserve the tie.
The adventures in the outfield weren't over after the A's got the lead in the 10th. Johnson gave up a leadoff single to Middlebrooks, who advanced to second on an error by center fielder Coco Crisp. Jackie Bradley Jr. followed with a grounder to first, and Daric Barton, who had entered the game in the ninth, fielded the ball and fired to third, nailing Middlebrooks. Melvin called it "the play of the game."
"I was thinking about going to third before the play," Barton said. "I've done it before. My whole idea was to get the guy at third."
Johnson then induced a game-ending double play, allowing the A's to limp home for what will be a 10-game homestand against the Mariners, Washington Nationals and Chicago White Sox.
Seattle (Chris Young 1-0) at A's (Scott Kazmir 4-0), 7:05 p.m. CSNCA