OAKLAND -- For a while Sunday, the A's likely would have settled for a base runner of any kind, let alone a hit. Snatching a victory away from the Boston Red Sox seemed almost unfathomable.

Yet, the A's tied the score in the seventh inning on a two-run home run by Josh Donaldson -- two batters after Coco Crisp notched the A's first hit of the game -- and then won 3-2 in the 11th on a Donaldson run-scoring single.

A's manager Bob Melvin called it "apropos" that Donaldson provided the punctuation mark before the All-Star break given how well the third baseman has played in the first 95 games.

Those in the A's organization, as well as many people across the league, felt as if Donaldson deserved to be a part of the American League All-Star team.

Oakland Athletics’ Josh Donaldson (20) is mobbed by his teammates after driving in the winning run against the Boston Red Sox during the 11th inning
Oakland Athletics' Josh Donaldson (20) is mobbed by his teammates after driving in the winning run against the Boston Red Sox during the 11th inning of their Major League Baseball game, Sunday, July 14, 2013, at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. Donaldson drove in all three of the A's runs in their 3-2 victory. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group) ( D. ROSS CAMERON )

Look no further than what Donaldson does in crucial situations, Melvin said, to understand his value.

"He's a fighter," Melvin said. "He's got that competitive bone. In situations that are big, he's not scared of them, he enjoys them. He looks forward to them. You can just see, there's added focus, there's desire and attention to what he's doing. It's been pretty impressive to watch."

Sean Doolittle was one of three A's relievers who shut down the Red Sox after they jumped to a 2-0 lead.

Doolittle said Donaldson has been so consistent this season that the A's almost take it for granted that he's going to come through in clutch situations.

The same can be said of an A's team that won 56 games before the break, matching the franchise record. That places them two games clear of the Texas Rangers in the A.L. West. The last time the A's were in sole possession of first place in the A.L. West at the break was in 1990. By the way, that's the last time the A's advanced to the World Series.

Sunday's game was the type people in these parts are accustomed to. It might take longer for others to realize that the A's aren't a one-year wonder.

Hence, when the A's play top-tier teams such as Cincinnati, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Boston, they view it as a chance to open more eyes.

"When we get an opportunity to play a good team ... we're going out there trying to send a message that we are a really good team and that we're for real," Donaldson said.

Good teams find a way to win games. It's what the A's do well, even when everything isn't going their way, even against the team with the best record in the A.L.

That was the case Sunday, with Red Sox rookie Brandon Workman holding the A's hitless for six innings and outdueling A's ace Bartolo Colon until the seventh.

Finally, the A's broke through, with Donaldson hitting a ball as well as he can, by his estimation, for a game-tying homer that energized the A's and the crowd.

His game-winning hit in the 11th sent the fans into a frenzy and the A's into the break on a high.

"That's huge," Doolittle said. "One thing our guys do really well is making adjustments and giving us a chance to win the game later on. A walk-off is one thing, but to win against a team like that that's been playing so well, that's big for us."

  • The A's are 107-64 since the 2012 All-Star break, the best record in the major leagues. Cincinnati (103-69) and Atlanta (102-70) are next in line.

  • David Ortiz entered Sunday's game with a .130 career average (6 for 46) against Colon. That figure dropped to .122 after Ortiz went hitless in three at-bats vs. Colon.

  • Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury arrived in Oakland riding a majors-best 19-game hitting streak. He went hitless the first two games of the series but rebounded with three singles Sunday.

  • A's right fielder Josh Reddick struck out in all four plate appearances. That snapped his streak of reaching base via hit or walk at 19 games.

  • Starter Brett Anderson might throw off a mound on the next trip, Melvin said. Once Anderson reaches the next step in his recovery from a right ankle sprain, Melvin will have a better grasp on Anderson's time frame for a return.

    Friday's game

    A's at L.A. Angels, 7:05 p.m. CSNCA

    ALL-STAR GAME

    Monday: Home Run Derby, 5 p.m. ESPN
    TUESDAY: All-Star game, 4:30 p.m. FOX