OAKLAND -- The A's clutched and grabbed and scraped and just kept holding on and on, which all made Game 2 seem like about three or four games at once.
It was just one game, one victory, tying this ALDS 1-1 as the scene shifts to Detroit for Game 3 on Monday.
But every bit of Saturday's 1-0 A's victory felt weighted down and significant in some important and audacious way.
You can't win a playoff series unless you win at least one game like this along the way, and the A's just did.
"Felt like one of those games where it was going to be a battle of attrition," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
"You try not to think of those things, you try to just stay in the moment and not try to think about what happens if you go down 2-nothing.
"But our guys were battling all night, and luckily enough we're even at 1-1 now."
The stars on this night were Sonny Gray, who pitched eight brilliant innings in his playoff debut, and Stephen Vogt, who lined the winning single in the bottom of the ninth.
The stage was a raucous Coliseum, with a sellout crowd that alternately held its breath and erupted and held its breath and finally erupted one last time as the A's emptied from their dugout to celebrate the one and only run of the game.
One massive run, after hours of nothing.
One victory, drenched in tension and drama and ending in thunder.
"There was never any doubt in my mind that we were going to keep putting up zeros," Vogt said, "the way Sonny pitched the ball and bring in (Grant Balfour) in the ninth.
"We felt good about tonight, sticking with the scouting reports. And with the stuff that Sonny had tonight, scouting reports were kind of a moot point."
With the A's already down 1-0 in this series, this game wasn't just about figuring out a way to grind out a victory.
It was about making sure they could take this series beyond the next few days.
Every bit of this game was loaded with consequence -- mostly because it was a matchup between the very great Justin Verlander and the very young Gray.
It was so typical of the A's to put a rookie into that dicey spot, and also to believe that Gray could absolutely deliver in the moment.
And it was so typical of this buoyant season for the A's to get everything they needed, and to keep moving forward.
It turned out to be the first game in postseason history in which both starting pitchers had at least nine strikeouts and no runs allowed.
So, yes, Gray held up his end. More than held it up, he carried the A's, too, just as Verlander carried the Tigers.
On and on the two men pitched -- a duel in the night, with this ALDS set to pivot on the outcome, whenever it came, and whatever it was.
It felt like it might be a duel, it started as a duel, and it went into the night as one of the most passionate pitching clashes you'll ever see.
There was Verlander heaving his 95 mph fastball along with his heart and guts for seven shutout innings.
And, despite his inexperience, Gray kept answering with his own high heat and extended brilliance.
Fists were pumped, and glares were exchanged. Strikeouts happened all over the place. Hardly anybody got on base.
The drama built and built as the zeros went up on the board.
The A's got some action in the late innings, starting with the seventh -- Verlander's final inning -- when they put runners on first and third and the anticipation grew.
With the Coliseum crowd roaring, and the ground shaking, Verlander threw a 98 mph fastball past Vogt on the 10th pitch of the at-bat to finish off the bottom of the seventh.
But, after 117 pitches and 11 strikeouts, that was it for Verlander, who turned it over to the Detroit bullpen.
For his part, Gray threw 111 pitches and went eight shutout innings, giving up only four hits and striking out nine.
"You had two starting pitchers that were electric tonight, and they were going to put up zeros," Melvin said.
It ended when Yoenis Cespedes led off the bottom of the ninth with a single to left, then Seth Smith lined a single to right, giving the A's runners at first and third with no one out.
Josh Reddick was walked intentionally to load the bases, setting up reliever Rick Porcello to face Vogt.
Then Vogt slammed the line drive into the outfield to drive in Cespedes, and it was finally over.
It got the A's back into this series, and that's all they could've hoped for, with all the passion and energy they could manage.
This game was never going to be easy; this series certainly won't be a cakewalk.
But the audacious A's kept it going Saturday, kept pushing, kept punching, and winning.