OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Several players gathered around a high-definition TV on one end of the Oakland Athletics clubhouse, shouting and screaming at the highlights they just made happen with another dose of late-inning drama.
A tying home run. A game-ending single. Players streaming out of the dugout, mobbing the final hitter on the field. A whipped-cream pie in the face — maybe two — and a sports-drink bath to wash it all down.
No matter how many times the scene unfolds, it never seems to get old in Oakland this season.
Seth Smith hit a tying homer in the ninth inning, Coco Crisp singled home the winning run in the 12th and the surging A's rallied from four runs down to stun the New York Yankees 5-4 on Sunday and complete a four-game sweep. Oakland improved to 14-2 in July, the best record in the majors during that span, with a league-leading 11th walk-off win.
"I don't think there was anybody in the dugout or in the stands," Smith said, "who didn't think we were going to win."
Smith homered to center with one out in the ninth off closer Rafael Soriano to force extra innings.
Derek Norris started the final rally with a one-out single off Derek Jeter's glove at shortstop. Jemile Weeks followed with a sacrifice bunt, setting the stage for Crisp to finish off New York.
The AL East-leading Yankees had not been swept in a four-game series since May 2003 against Toronto. All four losses were by one run.
"It's no fun," manager Joe Girardi said.
Crisp's humpback liner to right field on a "nasty sinker" by Cody Eppley (0-2) scored Norris from second without a throw from Andruw Jones, who bobbled the ball as he tried to make the transfer. The A's came streaming out of the dugout to celebrate their fifth straight victory, grabbing whipped-cream pies that have become so routine that concession workers behind the dugout already have them prepared.
"The music after the game. The pie in the face versus the shaving cream. It's always a better feeling to win than to lose," Crisp said. "I guess that's the thing that I like the most right now."
Jerry Blevins (3-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory.
A year after Michael Lewis' best-selling book "Moneyball" — which chronicled the 2002 Athletics — hit the big screen and turned general manager Billy Beane into a starring role played by Brad Pitt, Oakland is suddenly back in the AL playoff chase despite baseball's lowest opening-day payroll at about $53 million.
By contrast, the Yankees checked in at around $200 million. A pair of New York stars — slugger Alex Rodriguez ($30 million) and ace CC Sabathia ($24.3 million) — are making more money combined this year than all of the A's.
Still, Oakland is in a three-way tie with Baltimore and the Los Angeles Angels for the two American League wild-card spots.
"To keep competing after so many games where you're so drained and then compete as hard as we've competed all year in this game, you've got to find that pretty special," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
Crisp became the first A's player to have two game-ending RBIs this season, following his sacrifice fly against Boston on July 3.
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