Then he and his teammates spent the rest of the game heaping misery on the Los Angeles Angels' pitching staff.
Cust's fifth-inning homer and 4-for-4 night don't nearly tell the whole story of the A's 15-8 rout at Angel Stadium. But his evening of redemption is as good a place to start as any.
The left fielder -- hardly known for his slick glove work -- let a routine fly ball bounce right out of his mitt in the bottom of the second inning, opening the floodgates to a five-run Angels rally against right-hander Justin Duchscherer.
That wiped out all of the 4-0 lead the A's built in the top of the second off Angels rookie Nick Adenhart.
But the A's proceeded to rattle off a season-high 20 hits, sending 13 batters to the plate in their eight-run fifth. "Not a normal game," Duchscherer summed up afterward. "Definitely not a normal game."
The A's also tallied a season high in runs, eclipsing the number put up in their 14-2 blowout victory Monday in the opener of the four-game series.
The A's combined for 29 runs and 36 hits in their wins Monday and Thursday. On Tuesday and Wednesday -- both losses -- they totaled one run and 10 hits.
The upshot is the A's finished 4-3 on a seven-game road trip against division opponents Seattle and Los Angeles. They're tied for first place with the Angels in the AL West.
Their offensive bonanza also helped fans who are considering attending Sunday's "Turn Back the Clock" game against the Rangers at McAfee Coliseum.
The A's announced a promotion before Thursday's game: One dollar would be shaved off plaza level ticket prices to Sunday's game for every hit the A's collected Thursday.
The 2,500 plaza level tickets available as of Thursday were going for $24. Factor in the A's 20 hits, and those seats are going for the bargain price of $4. Manager Bob Geren thought reporters were pulling his leg when told of the deal.
"Awesome!" he said. "I love it. So we're going to have a big crowd Sunday? I love it."
The 20 hits were the most for the A's since they banged out 24 on June 26, 2005, against the Giants. Cust's dropped fly came with two outs and nobody on in the second. Duchscherer proceeded to allow five runs on five hits in the inning to put the Angels up 5-4.
As bad as Cust felt afterward, Duchscherer (2-1) was just as mad at himself.
"I've always taken pride in picking a (teammate) up," he said. "Things seemed to snowball."
But Cust led off the fifth by crushing a solo homer to right-center to break a 6-6 tie and give the A's a lead they continued to build on.
It was just Cust's second homer of the season, and his first since April 1 against Boston -- a span of 21 games between blasts. He reached base in all six of his plate appearances.
His dropped fly Thursday was reminiscent of a similar ball he dropped in a game last season at the Coliseum, but Cust was happy to answer back at the plate.
"After I got a couple of hits, a couple guys said 'After you mess up a ball, you usually rake,'" said Cust, whose four hits were a career high. "It kind of makes you bear down when you're not contributing. ... Sometimes when you bear down and concentrate, you see the ball."
In the fifth, A's shortstop Bobby Crosby became the first Athletic to record two hits in the same inning since Mark Ellis and Jason Kendall did it Sept. 3, 2006, against Baltimore.
Emil Brown went 4-for-6 with two runs and an RBI, and five A's players had two RBI each.
Contact Joe Stiglich at email@example.com.
A'S 15, ANGELS 8