Not long after the Tigers took a 3-2 lead with a couple of gift runs -- thanks to Coco Crisp's error in center field, in the bottom of the seventh -- the A's stormed back in the top of the eighth with two runs of their own.
The first of them was about as cheap as they come. With Tigers starter Doug Fister out of the game after throwing 107 pitches, usual eighth-inning reliever Joaquin Benoit took over on the mound. Yoenis Cespedes led off with a single, then stole second base ... and third base, without a throw ... and sprinted home when Benoit skipped a pitch past catcher Gerald Laird.
Just like that, the game was tied.
On the very next pitch, Josh Reddick -- who had struck out six times in this series already -- drove a hanging change-up over the right-field wall.
Just like that, the Athletics had their slim lead back.
Benoit did retire the next two A's, leaving Oakland's bullpen in the most precarious of positions. But one of the keys to the Athletics' late-season surge has been the brilliance of Ryan Cook in the eighth inning and Grant Balfour in the ninth. They're right where they want to be, with six outs to get.