OAKLAND -- Josh Donaldson readily admits he probably wouldn't have come through with the game on the line in April or May.
But mid-August? Donaldson finally thinks he has a few things figured out after two miserable stints with the A's earlier in the season, and Friday night, he provided some convincing evidence.
Donaldson, called up from Triple-A on Tuesday when Brandon Inge went down with a sprained right shoulder, had a career-high four hits and drove in the go-ahead run with an eighth-inning single as the A's beat Cleveland 6-4 before 13,967 at the Oakland Coliseum.
"Previous times (with the A's), I've been so amped up I haven't allowed my real abilities to work for me," Donaldson said. "But ever since I've been here this time, I've had a relaxed mentality, just trying to put the barrel (of the bat) on the ball and not try to do too much with it."
Donaldson also made a stellar play at third base as Oakland won its second straight after a three-game losing streak.
Much like Chris Carter, who required a couple of demotions back to Sacramento before things finally started to click for him, it's been a different Donaldson since his second recall.
He was on the opening-day roster as the starting third baseman but was sent to the minors after hitting .094 with no RBIs in nine games. He returned to Oakland on May 12 but hit just .182 and was sent back to the River Cats a second time after just 19 games.
But in the
Donaldson said he is just trying to take the same calm approach he did with the River Cats, where he was hitting .335 with 13 home runs.
"There's not one at-bat in Sacramento where I'm tight, where I'm telling myself, 'I gotta get a hit here,' " he said. "Just getting that to transfer over to the big leagues has been a big thing for me. It's taken some time."
The A's and Indians were tied 4-4 heading into the bottom of the eighth, but Carter opened the inning with a walk and Brandon Moss singled against reliever Joe Smith (7-3). Cleveland brought in Vinny Pestano to face pinch hitter Josh Reddick, who blooped a single over shortstop to load the bases.
Pestano got ahead 1-2, but Donaldson slapped a liner between third and shortstop to bring home pinch runner Adam Rosales as the go-ahead run. Cliff Pennington provided an insurance run with a sacrifice fly.
On a night of many good things to talk about, manager Bob Melvin was particularly impressed with Donaldson's final at-bat.
"Earlier in the year, he might have tried to do too much," Melvin said. "What he did, that's all it takes. We're just trying to get a run. It was a great at-bat."
The Indians jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning on a grand slam by designated hitter Shelley Duncan off A's starter Tommy Milone, who only lasted five innings. Oakland rallied with three runs in the bottom of fourth and tied it in the fifth.
Oakland's bullpen then took over to set up the winning rally and then preserve it. Pat Neshek gave the A's 11/3 innings of perfection, eventual winner Jordan Noberto (4-1) went the next 12/3, and Grant Balfour recorded his 10th save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Milone gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out six. Cleveland starter Zach McAllister pitched six innings, allowed eight hits and four runs, walked one and struck out six.
Reddick was scratched from the starting lineup for a second straight day but was feeling well enough to pinch hit.
Afterward, he said he was feeling much after having another maintenance procedure done Friday following the removal of a bad tooth earlier in the week.
"I didn't feel anything for about three hours, but then (the pain) started coming up on me a little bit," he said. "But it was nowhere what I've been feeling lately, so I was excited."
Reddick, who said he hopes to be back in the starting lineup Saturday, was happy to be part of the winning rally, too.
"I think I'm 3-for-3 off that guy (Pestano) with the total distance of the hits being about 300 feet," he said.
"I always drove to the ballpark the same way, and I always used the same pen to write in the lineup card," he said Friday. "I'm glad I didn't run out of ink."
Howe, despite how he was portrayed in the movie "Moneyball," is part of a modest delegation in town to celebrate the streak of the 2002 team Saturday night.
Also on hand for the festivities are Ken Macha, Howe's bench coach and his successor as manager, coaches Thad Bosley and Mike Quade and a smattering of players -- pitchers Jim Mecir, Jeff Tam, Chad Bradford and Micah Bowie, outfielder Terrence Long and first baseman Scott Hatteberg (who now works for the A's).
Cleveland (Corey Kluber 0-1) at A's (Bartolo Colon 9-9), 6:05 p.m. CSNCA
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