6/13/2013 10:56 P.M. ET
A's honor Rivera with proper Oakland sendoff
By Jane Lee and Jeff Kirshman / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- The California stops on Mariano Rivera's 2013 farewell tour hold particular significance for the Yankees closer.
Rivera's first career save came in Anaheim against the Angels on May 17, 1996. The future Hall of Famer expanded on that outing to become the game's all-time saves leader, with 631 over a 19-year career that will end after this season.
To put Rivera's longevity into further context, A's manager Bob Melvin caught Rivera in the mid-'90s as a member of New York's Triple-A Columbus Clippers affiliate -- before Rivera had developed his career-defining cut fastball.
"He didn't have it then," Melvin said. "When I caught him in Columbus, it was a four-seam fastball. It turned into a little bit of a cutter, which was probably a good move for him."
It's rare that an athlete is designated the best in the history of the sport at what he does while still playing, but that's what Rivera has accomplished.
Continuing the trend of Major League ballparks presenting the 12-time All-Star with iconic items from their respective areas, Melvin met Rivera at home plate to present him with a custom-designed surf board, a bottle of cabernet and a $10,042 donation to the Mariano Rivera Foundation before Thursday's series finale.
"I think when the other teams do it, they realize that they're honoring him because of what he's meant to the game, not just the New York Yankees," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Added Melvin: "Hopefully he doesn't pitch here today, but he's had an unbelievable career. And not only that, he's as good a person as he is a player. He's meant so much to that organization, continues to mean a lot to that organization, and I wish him the best in his career afterward. I'd love to be able to say we see him again at some point in time. It's rare that you get a guy like that who's going out on top, and that is the case with him."
Donaldson exits marathon with sore hamstring
OAKLAND -- A's third baseman Josh Donaldson exited Thursday's 3-2, 18-inning victory over the Yankees because of soreness in his right hamstring.
Donaldson said the injury started to act up in the top of the 15th while in the field. He was replaced at third base to start the 16th inning and watched the walk-off hit of Nate Freiman, who filled in for Donaldson as the A's cleanup man, from Oakland's clubhouse.
"Hopefully they caught it before it was too bad," Donaldson said. "I felt like if I had tried to accelerate or something that it could get bad."
Donaldson has played in all but two games this season for the A's, who kept Yoenis Cespedes and Coco Crisp out of the starting lineup for the second straight game Thursday, though Crisp entered as a pinch-hitter in the 15th inning to record two hits.
Donaldson owns a team-best .310 batting average, despite going 0-for-6 Thursday, with 19 doubles, and has scored 34 runs, second on the A's only to Crisp.
"I'm not the doctor, I don't know," Donaldson said in regard to when he'll return to the lineup. "We'll check it out tomorrow to see what the plan is."
Crisp returns in pinch; Cespedes kept out of lineup
OAKLAND -- The A's earned a three-game sweep over the Yankees on Thursday afternoon, posting a 3-2 victory in an 18-inning marathon without the help of outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and initially Coco Crisp, who are recovering from injuries.
Crisp entered as a pinch-hitter in the 15th inning and recorded two singles, his first nearly winning the game when Brandon Moss attempted to score on his single in the 15th but was nailed in a collision at home plate, where Yankees catcher Chris Stewart held on to the ball.
"They're not in there today," manager Bob Melvin said before the finale, "but each day they get a little healthier."
Oakland's ailing outfielders suffered injuries in Tuesday's contest, with Cespedes experiencing left hamstring tightness while running out a grounder and Crisp dealing with heel pain.
The A's are typically cautious with any leg injury, so there's no timetable on Cespedes' return, or how much Crisp is expected to play in this weekend's Mariners series.
Seth Smith made his second straight start in left field in Cespedes' stead Thursday, while Chris Young maintained center-field duties.