Josh Donaldson helps A's rally from 4-run deficit to beat Indians

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Josh Donaldson's third stint in the majors this season is proving to be a lot more enjoyable for the Oakland infielder than the previous two.

Called up from the minors this week after the Athletics placed third baseman Brandon Inge on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, Donaldson had three hits on Oakland's recently completed road trip and followed it up with a career game against Cleveland on Friday night.

Donaldson hit a tiebreaking single with the bases loaded in the eighth inning for his fourth hit and the A's rallied from four runs down to beat the Indians 6-4.

"The previous times I've been in the (majors) I've been so amped up I haven't allowed my abilities to really work," Donaldson said. "Ever since I've been here this time, I've gone up there with a relaxed mentality."

The two-run eighth inning capped Oakland's largest comeback this season and kicked off its six-game homestand on a positive note following a disappointing 2-4 road trip.

Chris Carter drew a leadoff walk against Cleveland reliever Joe Smith (7-3) and Brandon Moss followed with a single. Pinch hitter Josh Reddick then blooped a single into right field off Vinnie Pestano before Donaldson's fourth hit of the night scored pinch runner Adam Rosales.

"Staying the other way, letting the ball travel and getting a longer look at it, that's the things we preach in those type of situations," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Now it's difficult sometimes to go up there when the game's racing and you want to be the hero, but he did just that and it was a great at-bat."

Donaldson had three singles, a double and two RBIs. It was the first four-hit game of his career.

Cliff Pennington added a sacrifice fly to finish the rally for the A's, who pulled within five games of first-place Texas in the AL West and a half-game of the second wild-card spot.

Shelley Duncan hit his first career grand slam for the Indians.

"Once we got the grand slam we couldn't get the shutdown inning," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. "We allowed them to get the momentum back. Baseball is all about pitching and they got it."

Jordan Norberto (4-1) pitched 1 2/3 innings for the win and Grant Balfour worked the ninth for his 10th save, capping a stellar night for Oakland's bullpen after starter Tommy Milone struggled.

Cleveland managed only one hit and two baserunners following Duncan's grand slam off Milone in the fourth. Pat Neshek relieved in the sixth and pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings before giving way to Norberto.

The A's also got an emotional lift from Reddick, their leading home run hitter who was not in the starting lineup after undergoing a second dental procedure earlier in the day.

Yoenis Cespedes had two hits, Pennington added two RBIs and Moss scored twice to help the A's win for the 10th time in 21 games following a 16-2 run in July.

Cleveland dropped to 1-3 on its nine-game road trip. The Indians fell to 10-24 since the All-Star break, the worst mark in the AL.

It didn't start out so bad for the Indians.

Carlos Santana walked leading off the first and went to second when Cespedes misplayed Michael Brantley's fly ball to left. The play was originally scored an error before being changed to a hit nearly an hour after the game.

Jason Donald followed with a single to load the bases before Duncan hit a 3-2 pitch from Milone into the stands above the left-field scoreboard.

It was Duncan's 11th home run this season but only his fourth hit in August. The designated hitter went into the game batting .107 this month.

Cleveland starter Zach McAllister, who began the season with Triple-A Columbus, couldn't make the four-run lead hold up. The right-hander had six strikeouts and one walk but pitched with runners on base in every inning.

He gave up an RBI double to Donaldson in the fourth and the A's pulled within 4-2 when Moss scored on Derek Norris' grounder. Pennington followed with a two-out single to drive in Donaldson.

Oakland tied it in the fifth when Cespedes doubled, stole third and scored on Carter's sacrifice fly.

"It was great to get a good jump on the game and get runs on the board early," Duncan said. "But for them to answer like that killed us."

Milone struck out six and walked one. He is winless in his last five starts and has a 7.13 ERA during that span.

Game notes
Norris, Oakland's catcher, was hit in the back of the head on Santana's follow-through in the first but remained in the game. ... Several members of the A's 2002 team were on hand. The franchise is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Oakland's 20-game winning streak, which was the subject of the movie "Moneyball." ... Acta said he expects to bring up at least one starter when rosters expand in September. ... Cleveland slugger Travis Hafner, on the disabled list since Aug. 6, continues to rest after receiving an injection in his lower back last week. The Indians have no timetable for his return. ... A's LHP Brett Anderson (elbow) is slated to throw a bullpen Saturday. ... RHP Bartolo Colon (9-9), who pitches for Oakland on Saturday, has a 2.47 ERA since coming off the disabled list July 3. RHP Corey Kluber (0-1) pitches the middle game for Cleveland in his fifth start this season. ... Donald made his first career start in left field.