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OAK@NYY: Donaldson's solo shot gives A's the lead

NEW YORK -- The spotlight loves A's sluggers Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes. Consider the feeling very much mutual.

"It makes it a little easier to come to the ballpark," said Donaldson. "Not saying it's hard to come to the ballpark, but you're not having to fight to try to get any adrenaline. You come and you're put on a stage like this, it's fun."

The bigger the stage, the bigger Donaldson's presence is felt. Cespedes', too.

On Wednesday, that stage was Yankee Stadium, in a rare nationally televised game for the A's. And all Donaldson and Cespedes did was combine for three homers in a 7-4 series-clinching victory over the Yankees in the Bronx.

"Playing at Yankee Stadium, it's like playing in the playoffs," said Cespedes, who tallied two homers for his fourth career multihomer game. "You know it's going to be so loud. I like to play in that."

A rather light crowd (37,734) -- by Yankee Stadium standards -- was on hand for this display, but that didn't matter.

"Ces, in particular, he and JD really like to play in this type of atmosphere," said manager Bob Melvin. "You saw what Ces did in the home run-hitting contest last year, and JD just seems to step up every time we have a big game or play in a venue like this."

Oakland will contend with American League ERA leader Masahiro Tanaka in Thursday's matinee finale, making Wednesday's win -- the club's fifth straight and seventh of its last nine -- all the more crucial.

The A's AL-leading 37th win was of the comeback variety, as Oakland erased a four-run Yankees lead with seven unanswered runs.

All of New York's runs, meanwhile, came off righty Jesse Chavez in the third, which was highlighted by a three-run homer off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury.

But Cespedes responded with his own home run to lead off the fourth against lefty Vidal Nuno, and he would begin the sixth in the same fashion, blooping a homer over the right-field wall off Matt Daley for his 12th of the season.

In between, the A's got a fifth-inning sacrifice fly from Jed Lowrie. Another sac fly, a near-grand slam from Alberto Callaspo in the sixth on a 10-pitch at-bat, knotted the game -- albeit briefly.

Donaldson solidified the comeback in the seventh with a one-out shot to left field off right-hander Jose Ramirez, who was making his Major League debut, and the A's would add on with two runs in the ninth.

Not to be forgotten was an incredible diving catch in the first inning by center fielder Craig Gentry, who was in straightaway left by the time he made the grab, robbing Brett Gardner of extra bases.

The A's, again, made it a true team effort.

"That's an attribute that a good team has," said Melvin. "You get down here in this ballpark, you're down 4-0 early, and you haven't gotten too many good swings, but they know how to pass the baton here, move the line and get guys into position with guys on base so someone else can get a big hit."

"That's just kind of the way we do things," said Donaldson.

It was the 16th homer of the season for Donaldson, who finished with three hits while continuing to make a strong case for his first career All-Star nod following last year's snub. He leads the Majors with 50 runs scored.

Chavez, despite needing 27 pitches to get through the four-run third, was able to complete six innings, ending his night at 107 pitches. The righty scattered seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts in the win, his fifth of the season.

"I just wanted to keep our team in the game, and I knew we would come out and put some points on the board," said Chavez. "They put one right back for me, and that gives me the kick in the butt to not make that mistake again, to go back out and be aggressive."

Fernando Abad and Dan Otero combined for a shutdown seventh inning, and Otero came back out for the eighth to keep the lead intact. Lefty closer Sean Doolittle pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save in as many days and seventh of the season.

"When you fall behind 4-0, you don't really expect to win those games, even though you might think it," said Otero. "We hung in there. Our offense, it's only a matter of time before they break out, and they showed it tonight again."

"When you get a chance to play the Yankees on a big stage in their ballpark, guys step up," said Doolittle. "It's been impressive. We knew coming into this series it would be a well-pitched series and it would be the team that was able to get the timely hits late in the game. Both nights, our guys have come up huge in those last few innings."

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