OAKLAND – Derek Norris hit a three-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning, and the A's rallied to beat the Chicago Cubs 8-7 on Tuesday night to regain the American League West lead.
Norris sent the 2-2 pitch from James Russell (1-2) over the left-center field wall for his fourth home run this season. Josh Donaldson and Chris Young also homered to put the A's a half-game ahead of Texas, which lost 9-2 to Seattle.
Alfonso Soriano hit a three-run homer to highlight a five-run fifth inning and Welington Castillo had three RBIs for Chicago, which twice blew a two-run lead.
Dan Otero (1-0) pitched one scoreless inning for his first career win, and Grant Balfour finished for his 20th straight save this season.
Oakland can once again thank its on-again, off-again catcher for a comeback.
Five of Norris' 11 career home runs have given the A's the lead, and his latest might've even been bigger with starter John Jaso nursing an injured left hand.
Norris also threw out Luis Valbuena for the second out of the ninth after Balfour struck out Starlin Castro.
And after tossing his first complete game to beat Homer Bailey and the Cincinnati Reds his last time out, A's starter A.J. Griffin gave up 10 hits and tied his career high with seven earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. Bailey threw his second career no-hitter Tuesday night to lead the Reds past the Giants 3-0.
Chris Rusin was called up from Triple-A Iowa after Chicago's scheduled starter Scott Feldman was traded to Baltimore in the morning.
Rusin allowed six hits, struck out two and walked none in 3 1/3 innings for the no-decision in his first major-league start this season. He was pitching on three days' rest, so Cubs manager Dale Sveum pulled Rusin after 61 pitches.
The A's roughed up Rusin at the outset.
Donaldson hit his 14th home run in the first, and Young followed with his eighth longball of the season in the second to give Oakland a 3-0 lead.
The A's missed a chance to pile on – and perhaps run Rusin out of the game even earlier – when Jed Lowrie struck out with the bases loaded to end the second.
While Rusin regrouped in his short stint, so did Chicago's offense.
Soriano started the scoring burst when he sent the tying homer over the wall in center for his 10th home run of the season.
The Cubs sent 10 batters to the plate in the fourth inning, with Darwin Barney adding a sacrifice fly and Castillo hitting an RBI single to stretch Chicago's lead to 5-3.