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The Grand Slam: A's reach 50 wins in 14-inning thriller against Marlins

Athletics beat Marlins 7-6 in 14 innings
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Oakland Athletics' John Jaso (5) is congratulated by Josh Donaldson (20) after Jaso and Coco Crisp (not shown) scored on a single by Brandon Moss during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Saturday, June 28, 2014, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

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In what may have been their hardest fought victory of the season, the Oakland A's became the fastest team to 50 wins — 80 games compared to the Milwaukee Brewers 82 — with a 7-6 victory in 14-innings over a battling Miami Marlins squad.

It actually looked like Oakland would wrap things up in regulation with red-hot closer Sean Doolittle on the hill. However, Miami snapped his scoreless innings streak at 26 2/3 with a ninth inning rally. Giancarlo Stanton started it with a one-out double, and then came around to score on Casey McGehee‘s single to center field. Just that quick, the game was tied 6-6, and Doolittle's streak that dated back to April 26 was gone.

Both bullpens solidified over the next four innings until Oakland mounted a similarly quick rally in the 14th. With two outs Brandon Moss doubled, and then Josh Donaldson ripped a single up the middle to bring him home. In a bit of irony, that made a winner of Jim Johnson, who lost his closer's job to Doolittle earlier this season. But even that wasn't easy. In the 14th, Miami loaded the bases against Johnson with one out, but Jeff Francis closed the door.

TOMLIN ALLOWS ONE HIT IN DOMINANT PERFORMANCE: A sharp Kyle Seager single to left field broke up Josh Tomlin's perfect game in the fifth inning. It would be the only baserunner Tomlin allowed in a performance that was nearly on par with Clayton Kershaw's no-hitter on June 18. Kershaw allowed one runner on a Hanley Ramirez error and struck out 15. Tomlin allowed Seager's single and struck out 11. Neither issued a walk or hit a batter. Kershaw needed 107 pitches, Tomlin threw 111 in what amounted to a 5-0 win for the Indians against the Seattle Mariners.

Pretty close, but not close enough to make history. Bummer, huh Josh?

Well, hey, just to be mentioned in the same tweet as Kershaw isn't too bad.

Also, it's a long way from his previous two outings, which saw him allow 14 runs on 19 hits in 9 1/3 innings. We think he'll take it.

NATIONALS WIN TWO BEHIND STARTING PITCHING:

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(AP)

(AP)

A healthy Gio Gonzalez is finally giving the Washington Nationals the starting rotation depth they envisioned before the season. On Saturday, the 28-year-old left-hander dominated the Chicago Cubs with seven innings of two-hit ball as the Nationals took Game 1 of their doubleheader, 3-0

It was Gonzalez's third start since missing a month with a shoulder issue and his second straight without allowing a run. He's also worked an inning deeper in each start as he regains his stamina.

''Obviously coming (off) the DL and trying to work your way back is going to be a process,'' Gonzalez said. ''It's not going to happen overnight. It's good to see little by little using fastball and changeup at the same time. It's good to know when you need them they'll be there.''

In the nightcap, rookie Blake Treinen wasn't great, but still out dueled Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija in a game that was marred by a 55-minute rain in the fifth inning. Samardzija was touched up for four runs in his lone inning following the delay. Meanwhile, Treinen allowed two runs over five innings to pick up his first career victory as Washington completed the day-night doubleheader sweep, 7-2

KEEPING PACE OUT EAST: With the Nationals winning two on Saturday, the Atlanta Braves had to follow suit in their doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies to stay tied atop the NL East. In game one, they took advantage of consecutive errors by Ryan Howard to run away with a 10-3 victory. Both Justin Upton and Tommy La Stella drove in three. In game two, it was a team pitching effort. David Hale, Anthony Varvaro, Jordan Walden and Gus Schlosser combined to allow one run on six hits in a workmanlike 5-1 win.

With the dual sweeps, both Atlanta and Washington are 48-33 with 81 games down and 81 to go.

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

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