MIAMI -- Once upon a Friday, the A's blew a four-run lead.
It was bound to happen; they hadn't done that all season.
That Oakland came back to score a 9-5 victory over the Miami Marlins on Friday night says as much about the A's relentless pursuit of wins as anything could.
To get back into a tie, the A's needed a brilliant eighth-inning dash from Stephen Vogt to score from first base on what was ruled a triple for Josh Reddick. It should have been called a double, and there was doubt Vogt would score, but a lack of blazing speed doesn't keep the catcher from being a smart base runner.
"That was great heads-up baserunning from Vogt," teammate Josh Donaldson said. "He got a nice jump, and he didn't assume he'd be held up at third. A great run.''
The ball got away from the diving Marcell Ozuna in left field, and when that happened, Vogt didn't break stride when third base coach Mike Gallego waved him around for the tying run on what Reddick called "the shortest triple in major league history.''
Someone who does have blazing speed, Coco Crisp, employed it for the go-ahead run in the ninth. Crisp, racing from second on Yoenis Cespedes' single, was able to slide around catcher Jeff Mathis, jump up and call himself safe.
"I came up that way because I knew I was safe,'' Crisp said. "No doubt.''
Home plate umpire Marty Foster disagreed, but the call went to replay review, and the A's got the reversal.
"The momentum shifter there was Coco scoring,'' Reddick said. "He put a great slide on a guy (Giancarlo Stanton) who has a cannon for an arm in the outfield. After that, (the momentum) just kept going.''
Before the inning was over, Donaldson would chip in with a warning track fly ball to score a run, then Vogt and Reddick would add RBI singles.
"We don't sit in the dugout saying we're going to score four,'' Reddick said. "We just want to score that one.''
After that, it was a breeze. Sean Doolittle came out of the bullpen. It was another 1-2-3 inning for Doolittle, who has retired 63 of the last 67 batters he's faced, a performance Reddick called "unhumanly.''
The A's had other big moments in this one. Cespedes picked up his major league-leading 10th outfield assist by throwing out Stanton at the plate. And catcher Derek Norris, back in the lineup for the first time since Sunday, had to come off the field after suffering back spasms.
That latter was an ill omen, because Norris doesn't ever come out of games if he can avoid it. But he tried to play through back spasms last year and it wound up putting him on the shelf. This time, he was going to be smart about it.
"This one's nothing like last year,'' Norris said. "I want to play, but the last time I tried to muscle my way through back spasms I made it 100 times worse.''
Now the A's are hoping Norris, who wasn't down to start Saturday anyway, will be back to catch the series finale Sunday when the Marlins throw a left-handed starter, Andrew Heaney, at Oakland.
The A's seemed to be en route to an easy 49th win of the season (against 30 losses) when they scored twice in the first and led 4-0 after five innings. After all, they hadn't lost a four-run lead all year.
But starter Jesse Chavez gave up four consecutive hits in the sixth when "I started to get a little tired, I guess.''
"I was getting a little flat with pitches,'' Chavez said. "What the offense did shows what kind of character this team has. If we have a bad inning, we don't let it affect the way the rest of the game is going to play out. And I think that's the big key for us.''
For more on the A's, see John Hickey's Insider at www.ibabuzz.com/athletics.
A's (Sonny Gray 7-3)
at Miami (Nathan Eovaldi 5-3) 4:10 p.m. CSNCA
Still no A's lease as Oakland
city leaders boycott vote.
Oakland politicians help A's owner make his point about Oakland politicians. Read Mark Purdy's column at blogs.mercurynews.com/purdy.
BEST IN THE BIGS
A look at the best records
in Major League Baseball:
Team W L GB
A's 49 30 --
Brewers 50 32
Giants 4x 3x x
Dodgers xx xx x
Blue Jays 45 37 x