A's hold off Abreu, White Sox 5-3, force series to Game 3

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Oakland Athletics' Marcus Semien (10) celebrates after hitting a two-run home run that scored Sean Murphy (12) against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning of Game 2 of an American League wild-card baseball series Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

OAKLAND, Calif. – Oakland's long-reliable regulars Marcus Semien and Khris Davis powered a couple of home runs, Mark Canha made a game-saving catch against the wall and red-hot right-hander Chris Bassitt delivered the start of his life.

Now, the slugging A's are right back in a familiar fall position: one winner-take-all postseason game with the season on the line.

Semien and Davis connected early and Oakland's bullpen barely held off José Abreu and the Chicago White Sox late for a 5-3 win Wednesday that sent the AL playoff series to a deciding Game 3.

The A's lost in the AL wild-card game each of the past two seasons, providing added motivation to win the division and earn a longer series.

Game 3 is Thursday at the Coliseum.

“It feels good. We're hungry for more wins,” Semien said. “Tomorrow, anything can happen. It's just like Game 7."

A's reliever Jake Diekman walked home a run in the ninth, then retired the big-hitting Abreu on a sharp grounder to end it and even the best-of-three wild-card matchup at 1-all.

The White Sox went 14-0 in the regular season against left-handed starters and beat southpaw Jesús Luzardo in the playoff opener. A’s manager Bob Melvin acknowledged it might make him reconsider who to start with the season on the line — perhaps righty Mike Fiers over lefty Sean Manaea.