MIAMI -- To get their 7-6 win Saturday, the Oakland Athletics had to survive a harrowing bottom of the 14th, when a broken-bat single and an infield hit combined with a wild pitch and a walk to load the bases with one out. Jim Johnson, who was trying to get the win, left at that point, and the A's lone remaining reliever, Jeff Francis came out of the bullpen.
A strikeout and a fly ball got the job done.
The win was notable in that it made the A's the first American League team to get to 50 wins this year (against 30 losses), and in that former closer Johnson pitched the last three innings to get the win.
The A's current closer, Sean Doolittle, had a chance to put the game away in the ninth, but Giancarlo Stanton doubled and Casey McGehee singled to tie the game at 6. It was just the second blown save for Doolittle, who took over the closer's job when Johnson stumbled in April.
Stanton and McGehee were the first two batters Johnson had to face in the 14th to secure the win.
Stanton broke his bat to get an opposite-field single, then McGehee bounced into a force at second. Bob Melvin came out of the A's dugout at that point to talk with Johnson but clearly had no intention of taking him out of the game. Garrett Jones then reached on an infield single and Jeff Mathis walked. That's when Francis came on to finish off the Marlins.
After the A's bats had been quiet since a John Jaso double set up the tying run in the fifth, Jed Lowrie got them revved up a little in the eighth with a leadoff double. He took third on a grounder and scored on Alberto Callaspo's third single of the game as the A's took a 6-5 lead.
Oakland's lead held through the eighth with the help of the third A's right fielder of the game, Craig Gentry. Jake Marisnick singled sharply to right, then was gunned down by Gentry trying to stretch the one-out hit into a double.
That got the game to Doolittle, who'd saved 11 of 12 coming in and who had allowed only one hit in the month of June. He allowed back-to-back hits this time, a double to Stanton and a single to McGehee as Miami tied it up, forcing extra innings.
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