The Grand Slam: Amazing A's top Orioles on Josh Donaldson's walk-off homer

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew
View photos

The Oakland A's are a team on a mission and their logo is pretty much the last thing you want to see on an upcoming schedule right now. Unfortunately for the Baltimore Orioles, they had no choice but to travel to Coliseum for a series right after the All-Star break, and despite taking a two-run lead to the ninth, they were helpless bystanders as All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson delivered a three-run homer to win it 5-4.

It was an absolutely electrifying moment in front of 27,232 fans, who made enough noise for 100,000. The blast capped a quick but decisive rally. Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss started the inning with back-to-back singles off Orioles closer Zach Britton, then Donaldson ended it before an out was recorded. 

Until the ninth-inning heroics, it looked like Manny Machado would get the last word for Baltimore. His two-run homer in the seventh provided the difference heading to the ninth. Ironically, he was involved in an incident with Donaldson when the two teams played in Baltimore in June. The situation escalated throughout the series, resulting in Machado receiving a suspension  Though both sides played nice on Friday, that history had to add another level of satisfaction to Donaldson's swing.

''I enjoy those moments,'' he said. ''It's one of those things where you've got to try to relish the opportunity, and anytime I can step up to the plate with an at-bat to help our team win the game or win the game right there, I feel better about it.'

The A's are the first team to 60 wins in MLB this season. The division-rival Los Angeles Angels are next in line with 58 wins. No other team has more than 54. 

ALL NIGHTER IN ANAHEIM: The Los Angeles Angels acquired Huston Street from the San Diego Padres late Friday night, and for awhile it seemed like he might be in an Angels uniform before their game against the Seattle Mariners ended. It took them 16 innings and well more than five hours, but the Angels finally triumphed 3-2 on Efren Navarro's walk-off single

If there's ever a day to play 16 innings, the first day after the All-Star break might be the best time. Everybody on the pitching staff is fresh. With that said, it also puts both teams behind the eight-ball moving forward. The Angels needed nine pitchers, including Hector Santiago, who got the win with 2 2/3 scoreless frames. Seattle countered with eight. But the silver lining for both sides might be that 11-game winners Felix Hernandez and Garrett Richards get the ball on Saturday.   

(Getty Images)
View photos
(Getty Images)

MATT HOLLIDAY'S BIG NIGHT LEADS CARDS: The marquee matchup as baseball returned from the All-Star break on Friday night took place in St. Louis. The Cardinals welcomed in the Los Angeles Dodgers in a rematch from the 2013 NLCS, and much like that series they took control in the opener with a tight 3-2 win.  Yes, that was even the same final score as Game 1. 

It wasn't Clayton Kershaw vs. Adam Wainwright, but the game was decided on just a few swings. St. Louis got the advantage thanks to Matt Holliday, who doubled home Kolten Wong in the first inning, and then connected for a two-run homer, again scoring Wong, in the fifth. Both hits came off Dodgers starter Dan Haren.

For St. Louis, Lance Lynn was erratic but effective, holding Los Angeles to two runs over six innings. He allowed four hits, struck out nine, walked four and allowed one run to score on a wild pitch. According to The Associated Press, the win was Lynn's 44th over the past three seasons, which is one behind Wainwright for the most in the league.

DAVID PHELPS LEADS YANKEES TO WIN: The New York Yankees can make a trade or two, but they're still going to need some pitchers to step up with four-fifths of their opening-day rotation sidelined. On Friday, David Phelps did just that, allowing three runs — two earned — in 6 1/3 innings, as the Yankees secured a 4-3 victory over the shorthanded Cincinnati Reds

It was pretty much the ideal outing for manager Joe Girardi, because Phelps bridged the gap directly to All-Star reliever Dellin Betances, who retired all five batters he faced, including three strikeouts. Closer David Robertson allowed a hit, but held on for his 24th save this season.

''Big win for us to start the second half,'' Jacoby Ellsbury said. ''You always want to play well at home. You should play well at home. I think we're going to.''

Ellsbury played a big part in it as well, hitting a two-run homer in the fifth. Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran added RBIs as the Yankees moved back over .500 (48-47).

As for the Reds, they were still without Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, but catcher Brayan Pena became only the second Reds player with a multi-homer game at Yankee Stadium. The other was Johnny Bench in Game 4 of the 1976 World Series.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

- - - - - - -

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!