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Must C Caught: Cruz is caught trying to steal home

BALTIMORE -- Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado engaged in a benches-clearing scuffle on Friday night, and it wasn't even the most interesting thing that happened at Camden Yards.

That's how compound this game was.

Oakland's 4-3 11-inning victory over the Orioles was chock-full of goodies.

The A's winning run in the 11th was made possible by two catchers who didn't even start the game. And the A's don't even make it to the 11th if not for a perfect throw to the plate from a temporary right fielder in Brandon Moss in the 10th to keep the game alive.

"That was a Reddick-like throw," said manager Bob Melvin, referring to injured right fielder Josh, "and it was do or die."

"People don't remember I have a good arm," said Moss. "That's really my only defensive tool."

In that same inning, the A's also got an assist from Nelson Cruz, who went for a straight steal of home with two outs, despite Chris Davis, of all bats, standing at the plate. Like Nick Markakis, gunned down by Moss, Cruz was out on a tag by catcher Derek Norris.

"He gambled," said Norris, "and he lost."

The A's responded with a win, their eighth in their last 11 games, to move 15 games over .500 at an American League-best 38-23.

Pinch-hitter John Jaso stretched a routine single into a double to begin the 11th, and another catcher off the bench, Stephen Vogt, came through with the one-out RBI single, his second game-changing hit since being recalled from Triple-A just Sunday.

"For him to get that hustle double right there is huge," Vogt said of Jaso. "That was the wakeup that we needed right there.

"It was fun for the three of us to get in the same game and contribute."

Norris did his part at the plate with a second-inning homer, finishing the night with two hits.

"A lot of contributions across the board," said Melvin. "It wasn't nine guys today. It was a bunch."

"I feel like we've done that all year," said starter Tommy Milone, who gave up three runs in six innings. "We don't give up until that last out is made. We're always in every game, and we find ways to win. It seemed like everybody did something tonight, and it seems like we've been doing that a lot."

Milone received a dose of run support right away, with Donaldson notching his 17th homer of the season in the first off lefty Wei-Yin Chen.

But Donaldson's most memorable play of the game came in the third, when Machado appeared unhappy with the way he applied a forceout tag near third base, which sent an already stumbling Machado to the ground.

The tag was seemingly innocent, but Machado took enough offense to start jawing at Donaldson, leading both benches and bullpens to clear.

"I don't know what happened from his end, but I was just trying to do my job and play the game of baseball," said Donaldson, who later added, "I was actually walking over there to pick his helmet up for him, and then he jumps up and starts yelling at me. I have nothing against the kid. I don't understand where it came from."

"Didn't agree on the tag," explained Machado. "Right play, he made the right play, but just didn't agree on the tag that he made on me, and I just had to get up and confront him. You get in the heat of the moment and things start flying. It's part of the game."

The skirmish was brief, but not over.

In Donaldson's next at-bat in the sixth, Chen threw near his head and, a few pitches later, nailed him on the left forearm. Donaldson flipped his arm guard and stared into his dugout, sharing words with his teammates, but took his base without any further fracas.

It was Machado who delivered a go-ahead homer in the fifth off Milone, who was in line for a loss before Yoenis Cespedes came through with a game-tying double in the eighth.

Ryan Cook and Luke Gregerson combined for three scoreless innings in advance of a wild 10th.

Fernando Abad was on the mound when Cruz broke for home and recorded the final out, allowing the lefty to ultimately record a win and snap a 15-game losing streak dating to April 9, 2011.

"Was I surprised he went? Yeah," said Donaldson. "They have one of their best hitters at the plate. I'm glad he did."

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