OAKLAND — For a while Sunday, the Athletics likely would have settled for a base runner of any kind, let alone a base hit. Snatching a victory away from the Boston Red Sox seemed almost unfathomable.
Yet the Athletics tied the game in the seventh inning on a two-run homer by Josh Donaldson, two batters after Coco Crisp notched the Athletics' first hit of the game, and then won the game, 3-2, in the 11th on a Donaldson run-scoring single.
Athletics manager Bob Melvin called it "apropos" that Donaldson provided the punctuation mark on the first half of the season given how well Donaldson played the first 95 games.
Those in the Athletics' 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.
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 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 Athletics almost take it for granted that he's going to come through in clutch situations.
The same can be said of an Athletics team that won 56 games before the All-Star Game, matching the franchise record. That places them two games clear of the Texas Rangers in the American League West at the break.
The last time the Athletics were in sole possession of first place in the AL West at the break was in 1990. By the way, that's the last time the Athletics advanced to the World Series.