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Oakland Athletics' Jack Cust pumps his fist as he rounds the bases on his three-run, game-ending home run in the ninth inning of their Major League Baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Sunday, May 13, 2007 in Oakland.
OAKLAND -- Just when you thought the Jack Cust story couldn't get any better, along came Sunday.

The left-handed slugger, still living in a hotel and hardly at ease with this whole overnight sensation thing, found another way to keep the media swarming his locker.

After Milton Bradley delivered a dramatic two-run home run to tie the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Cust came through with the topper -- a three-run, walk-off homer off Cleveland Indians reliever Fernando Cabrera that completed a 10-7 victory in front of 24,692 euphoric fans at McAfee Coliseum.

In case you've lost track, that makes five homers, 12 RBI and six runs scored over the past four games for Cust.

He's also launched six homers in his first 26 at-bats, the most torrid pace for a new A's player since the franchise moved to Oakland.

The only thing that could have made the moment better was if Cust had delivered the game-winning blow with a pink bat, which several of his teammates used in a promotion to raise breast cancer awareness on Mother's Day.

Then again, those bats were ordered well in advance, and just 12 days ago Cust was toiling in the minors for the San Diego Padres.

"They didn't have pink bats at Triple-A on Mother's Day," he explained.

Not only is he back in the bigs -- Cust had played in just 70 major-league games over the past five seasons before the A's traded for him May 3 -- he's raising the question of why he wasn't given more opportunity in recent seasons.


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"Everything I heard about him (was that) he just hits bombs," Bradley said. "I heard we picked him up, and I thought, 'It's going to pay off.' ... He's a great story."

So was Bradley on Sunday.

The A's trailed 7-5 and were down to their last strike against Indians closer Joe Borowski (0-2). Eric Chavez battled back from an 0-2 count and poked a single to right field, bringing up Bradley, who said he noticed Borowski had been hanging sliders up in the zone.

"I was trying to hit a home run," Bradley said. "There's a time and place for it. I felt it was a good matchup for me."

Bradley connected with a 2-1 slider and sent it bouncing off the concrete steps deep over the right-field wall.

He admitted he has extra fire in the belly when he faces the Indians. Bradley was traded from Cleveland to the Dodgers one day before the start of the 2004 season, partly because he didn't see eye-to-eye with Indians manager Eric Wedge.

"I never had anything against the fans, I loved my teammates when I was there," Bradley said. "It was a personal thing between me and Wedge."

With the score 7-7, Dan Johnson and Bobby Crosby followed with singles, and Wedge brought in Cabrera to face Cust.

With the count 1-0, Cust drove a fastball over the elevated fence in left-center.

Just another chapter in the remarkable story of Cust, who joined the A's in Tampa Bay during their recent road trip and has yet to find permanent housing.

"I'm staying at a hotel, I kind of feel like I'm on the road all the time," he said.

And he's not comfortable answering question after question. Toward the end of his media session, he turned to catcher Adam Melhuse, dressing next to him, to ask if Melhuse wanted to finish the interview.

Though Cust is thankful for the opportunity he's gotten with the A's, he has a hard time explaining how he ended up in his current position.

"I don't really have to describe it to anybody," he said. "People that know me know what I've been doing.

"Baseball people know what I've been doing. I don't explain it too much. (But) I've been getting a lot of phone calls from people I haven't heard from."

Contact Joe Stiglich at jstiglich@cctimes.com.