OAKLAND, CALIF. Before the holiday fireworks at the Oakland Coliseum, the Athletics got the crowd excited with a come-from-behind victory in the ninth inning.
And if that wasn't enough, the A's were in the middle of a three-team trade to bring New York Yankees left-hander Ted Lilly to Oakland.
The A's traded promising minor league first baseman Carlos Pena, minor league right-hander Franklyn German and a player to be named to Detroit in exchange for right-handed starter Jeff Weaver and cash.
Then they turned around and sent Weaver to the Yankees for Lilly and two top prospects.
"Ted Lilly is someone we've tried to get for the last several years," general manager Billy Beane said. "It's a success for us for a number of reasons. We get a major league pitcher and we get top picks from the Yankees."
Just before the trade was announced, John Mabry hit a two-run double in the bottom of the ninth to lift the A's to a 4-3 victory.
The A's have played in five straight one-run games, with three wins. On Tuesday night, Olmedo Saenz had a pinch-hit, game-winning home run to give Oakland a 4-3 win over the Twins. On Thursday, a two-run error by Kansas City's Raul Ibanez after the A's loaded the bases in the ninth allowed the winning run to score.
"This team is something special," Mabry said. "Every one of these guys want to be in that situation, where they can be the one to win it. And every night a different guy comes through."
With the A's trailing 3-1 in the ninth, Miguel Tejada doubled off Roberto Hernandez (1-2) and David Justice walked. One out later, Jermaine Dye's single scored Tejada and tied it.
Mabry's double to the left-field corner scored pinch-runner Eric Byrnes and Dye. It was Hernandez's fourth blown save in 18 chances.
Jim Mecir (3-1) pitched the two innings for the win.
The Royals went ahead in the top of the ninth. With the score tied 1-all, A.J. Hinch led off with a single to center off Mecir. Hinch was out at second on Mike Caruso's grounder, but Caruso scored on Carlos Febles' triple.
Febles scored on Aaron Guiel's sacrifice fly to make it 3-1, but the Royals couldn't hold on.
"What can you do?" manager Tony Pena said. "We fought hard. It's disappointing."
Kansas City starter Jeff Suppan baffled the Oakland batters, allowing just three hits until the seventh inning, when Justice's solo homer tied it.
It was Justice's first home run in two months. His last was May 5 at Chicago.
Suppan allowed one run on four hits over seven innings. He struck out three.
A's starter Tim Hudson was coming off his best performance of the season, a five-hitter against the San Francisco Giants last Sunday.
After giving up a solo home run to Ibanez in the second inning, Hudson settled down. He pitched seven strong innings, allowing one run on six hits with six strikeouts and five walks.
"Something just starts clicking," Hudson said. "I guess maybe I was trying to make pitches rather than getting them out on every pitch."