OAKLAND, Calif. — There were a few unusual sights around the O.co Coliseum, in addition to Darth Vader hanging out for a while with Brian Anderson in the TV booth, as the Rays rallied to beat the A's 5-4 Saturday night.
And at the top of the list was how the Rays pulled it off, coming back to win in the ninth inning for the first time this season, having been 0-49 when trailing after eight.
"It had to happen sooner or later I guess," Logan Forsythe said. "It comes at a good time, showing that we can come back and win in the ninth. That's something we need to continue in this race."
Down 4-3, the Rays rallied when Daniel Nava drew a one-out walk and Forsythe laced a double that sent pinch-runner Tim Beckham to third off switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, then Asdrubal Cabrera greeted lefty reliever Drew Pomeranz with a first-pitch double to right.
"A great comeback," manager Kevin Cash said. "We needed that one."
Alex Colome finished it off for the Rays, Cash deciding on this night, with usual closer Brad Boxberger unavailable, that it wouldn't be so ridiculous to let Colome work two innings, as he retired all six A's he faced in the stiffest test so far in his transition to high-leverage reliever.
"Alex Colome looked outstanding, building confidence, I would say, by the pitch, and by the outing," Cash said. "He continued to look really poised out there, his pitches were obviously extremely effective. … He is feeling good about himself, as he should be. We want to try to kind of bottle that up and maintain that going forward. ,,,
"He's in a good spot. We're going to roll with him here now, and he's going to get some big outs for us going forward.''
Colome said he welcomed the opportunity to get the final outs.
"I feel so excited to do that,'' he said. "Tonight when I go out I said, this is the time, I have to do the best I can do.''
Also interesting, as the Rays improved to 62-61 and moved to within 1 1/2 games of the second AL wild-card spot:
• The Rays became the first team to hit three homers in a game off A's All-Star ace Sonny Gray, with Forsythe taking him deep in the second, former Athletic John Jaso in the third and Cabrera in the seventh.
• Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez had a 10-pitch sixth inning, and all strikes at that, yet gave up three runs — on two home runs — in the pivotal sequence that saw the Rays go quickly from up 2-1 to down 4-2.
• Typically mellow Rays first baseman James Loney got ejected in the sixth for objecting to a strike three call, then got really upset with home-plate umpire Paul Nauert.
The Rays struck first when Forsythe homered with one out in the second, the 14th of his breakout season, more than any Rays player but injured Steven Souza Jr., who has 15.
The A's came right back to tie it, but the Rays took the lead back on another homer, as Jaso took Gray deep to right.
The game then changed dramatically in the sixth inning.
Loney was called out on strikes to end the top of the inning, and when he flipped his bat and helmet to the ground in disgust, he was ejected by Nauert, who told Cash the helmet toss was the trigger.
Then Loney got demonstratively upset, going face-to-face with, and appearing to bump, Nauert. Cash interceded, but it took coaches Rocco Baldelli and Charlie Montoyo to restrain Loney.
Loney said he disagreed with the call and the ejection, claiming, "If I'm not saying anything to you, don't throw me out.' '' And, among other things about Nauert, "You could tell his personality is not the best, and he's just kind of there.''
Ramirez had been pitching relatively well to that point, but that all changed rapidly in the bottom of the inning.
Ramirez gave up an 0-and-2 homer to Mark Canha, got a first-pitch flyout by ex-Ray Stephen Vogt, then gave up a first-pitch double to Brett Lawrie and a first-pitch two-run homer to Josh Phegley, putting the A's up 4-2.
But Cabrera homered in the seventh to make it 4-3, and then the Rays, playing their fifth consecutive one-run game, staged their unprecedented rally.
"I think that shows a lot about our team,'' Forsythe said. "That's how we've been playing all year — we're never out of it and we keep grinding. ...
"It was nice to come back in the ninth finally and try to get some momentum.''