Indians 4, Athletics 3(16)
The Cleveland Indians are performing drama like no other team - and is one believing it's destined for something much more.
''Maybe it is our year,'' reliever Frank Herrmann said.
Jack Hannahan's single with one out in the 16th inning scored sliding pinch-runner Cord Phelps from second base and gave Cleveland a 4-3 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night, moving the bend-but-don't break Indians back into second place in the AL Central.
A season of comebacks, injuries and late-inning heroics has a new chapter.
''These guys aren't giving up,'' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ''That's good.''
Jim Thome singled with one out in the 16th off Josh Outman (3-4), the A's eighth pitcher, and was replaced by Phelps. Carlos Santana lined a single to center before Hannahan, who hit two solo homers, singled to right. Phelps never slowed as he was waved around by third-base coach Steve Smith and was able to slip headfirst under the tag of catcher Kurt Suzuki, who had to jump to catch right fielder David DeJesus' strong throw.
''It was all in slow motion,'' Smith said. ''I sent him and then I said, 'Uh, oh.'''
The play was close, but plate umpire Bruce Dreckman ruled Phelps was safe and the A's didn't argue.
''The replays are showing he was out,'' Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. ''It was impossible to see from my angle. There's nothing we can do about it now.''
Suzuki was certain he got Phelps, but didn't know where the rookie was in relation to the plate.
''It was a close play, one of those things where you can't tell if he was safe,'' the catcher said. ''I tagged him. I know that. It's too bad to lose after we battled so hard.''
Hannahan was mobbed by the Indians, who won for the 17th time in their last at-bat at home, jumped Chicago in the division and stayed 5 1/2 games behind first-place Detroit. It was Cleveland's 11th walk-off win at home, the Indians' 13th one-run game in August and 46th this season.
''I was just trying to stay up the middle,'' Hannahan explained of his game-winning single. ''To be honest with you I didn't think about swinging away (for another homer). Those hits had happened so long ago in that game that I forgot what happened.''
It was also the longest game in Cleveland since May 7, 1995 - when the Indians went to the World Series for the first time since 1954.
''We keep pulling out games like this,'' said Herrmann (4-0), who worked four perfect innings. ''Things are falling into place for us or we're making them fall into place.''
The marathon featured a Progressive Field record 34 strikeouts - 19 by Oakland pitchers, who also combined for eight perfect innings from the seventh to 15th.
The A's threatened in the 10th, 11th and 12th, but couldn't push the go-ahead run across. They stranded six runners in the three innings, leaving the bases loaded in the 12th against Chad Durbin, who got out of the one-out jam by striking out Ryan Sweeney and retiring DeJesus on a pop to short.
Suzuki homered for Oakland, which dropped its fifth straight.
The Indians didn't gain any ground on the Tigers, but for a change they did get a positive medical report.
Designated hitter Travis Hafner received some ''encouraging news'' about his strained foot tendon from doctors, and Acta expects the slugger to return this season. Hafner has been out since Aug. 21, when he was injured trying to stretch a single during a game in Detroit.
Acta does not have a timetable for Hafner's return, but said when the cleanup hitter does come back, he will share DH duties with Thome. Also, Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore began a rehab stint at Double-A Akron, and as long as he doesn't have any setbacks, he could rejoin the club soon.
Hannahan's second homer off starter Rich Harden, a towering shot off the foul pole in right, tied it 3-3 in the sixth.
He turned on an 0-1 pitch and drove it three-quarters of the way up the pole for the 3,000th homer at Progressive Field, which was also hosting its 1,400th game since opening in 1994.
Cleveland's Ubaldo Jimenez allowed three runs and six hits in six innings, and the right-hander got stronger as the game went on. He struck out six of the last seven A's he faced, freezing Suzuki on an outside pitch to end the sixth. It wasn't a dominant performance - he needed 114 pitches to get through six - but he kept the Indians close enough to pull out another one.
Harden, who was frequently mentioned in trade rumors involving the Indians before the July 31 deadline, posted an almost identical line to Jimenez - three runs and six hits in six innings with two walks and six strikeouts.
Suzuki connected for his 13th homer in the fourth, giving Oakland a 3-2 lead. The A's had tied it 2-2 in the third on Brandon Allen's two-out RBI single.
Notes: The A's traded 1B/OF Conor Jackson to Boston with cash for minor league RHP Jason Rice minutes before the waiver deadline. ... A's bench coach Joel Skinner has been bumming a ride to the ballpark with Indians first-base coach Sandy Alomar. Skinner, who played, coached and managed the Indians, has maintained a home in the Cleveland area. ... Oakland OF Coco Crisp did not start but came in as a pinch-runner in the 10th and ended up playing six more innings. He went 0 for 2. ... Indians OF Michael Brantley underwent successful surgery on his right hand. Brantley, who is out for the season, is expected to make a full recovery. ... The A's recalled LHP Jerry Blevins from Triple-A Sacramento for the sixth time this year. ... Oakland LHP Gio Gonzalez (11-11) will face RHP Fausto Carmona (6-12) in a noon start Thursday. Gonzalez is 4-0 with a 0.89 ERA in five career starts against Cleveland.