Pinder delivers timely hit, A's advance in playoffs at last

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Oakland Athletics' Khris Davis hits a single off Chicago White Sox pitcher Evan Marshall in front of cutouts seated at Oakland Coliseum during the sixth inning of Game 3 of an American League wild-card baseball series Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

OAKLAND, Calif. – Sure, most of these young Oakland Athletics might barely remember some of the gut-wrenching October losses over the past two decades.

Two recent defeats were plenty fresh enough to motivate manager Bob Melvin’s slugging, happy-go-lucky A’s.

Oakland finally ended 14 years of postseason futility, riding Chad Pinder’s go-ahead, two-run single in the fifth inning and repeated costly walks by Chicago’s relievers to rally past the White Sox 6-4 on Thursday and win the decisive third game of their AL wild-card round series.

“Not everybody's been part of all that,” Melvin said. “We've had a couple of tough ones in the last two years.”

The AL West champions lost the opener, then won on consecutive days at home and advanced to a Division Series against the rival Houston Astros starting Monday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The winner of that matchup faces the New York Yankees or Tampa Bay for a spot in the World Series.

Sean Murphy hit a two-run homer in the fourth against Codi Heuer as A's wives and families cheered from suites high above the diamond.

Players held a subdued celebration afterward. No Champagne showers.

"We’re doing what we did all year, and that’s following the protocols,” Melvin said.