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Cubs batter Griffin before Oakland rallies for 8-7 victory

  • Oakland Athletics' Derek Norris swings for a three run home run off Chicago Cubs' James Russell in the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, July 2, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

OAKLAND — Derek Norris hit a three-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning, and the Oakland Athletics rallied to beat the Chicago Cubs 8-7 on Tuesday night to regain the AL West lead.

Norris sent the 2-2 pitch from James Russell (1-2) over the left-center field wall for his fourth home run this season. Josh Donaldson and Chris Young also homered to put the A's a half-game ahead of Texas, which lost 9-2 at Seattle.

Alfonso Soriano hit a three-run homer to highlight a five-run fifth inning and Welington Castillo drove in three runs for Chicago, which twice blew a two-run lead. The Cubs are 35-46 at their season's midpoint.

Dan Otero (1-0) pitched one scoreless inning for his first career win, and Grant Balfour finished for his 20th straight save this season and 38th overall.

Oakland can once again thank its on-again, off-again catcher for a comeback. Five of Norris' 11 career home runs have given the A's the lead, and his latest might've even been bigger with starter John Jaso nursing an injured left hand.

Not to mention that he bailed out the men on the mound. Norris threw out Luis Valbuena for the second out of the ninth after Balfour struck out Starlin Castro.


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