Fortunately for Oakland, the former trumped the latter: Reddick sneaked a slow grounder between third and shortstop that Carlos Correa had to field on the run from the outskirts of the infield, as Marcus Semien rushed all the way home from second, scoring ahead of a throw that proved off line.
Coco Crisp was off the hook, then, after getting thrown out between second and third following a game-tying double off Astros closer Will Harris in the ninth inning that he believed to be a home run.
"I thought it was a home run," Crisp said. "I was running around the bases like it was a home run. It's just bad baserunning, when it's all said and done. I didn't see it and thought it was a home run until I realized it wasn't. It was like a uh-oh, back slash, exclamation point, all that stuff.
"Thankfully we won the game, because that could've been a big play. It was a big play regardless. It did get the run in and it kept us playing."
The A's were down to their final out in the 10th inning when Semien singled off Pat Neshek, prompting left-hander Tony Sipp from the bullpen. Sipp immediately walked Yonder Alonso, setting up Reddick's sixth career game-ending RBI.
It was a doozy, too.
"I hit the crap out of it. I hit a missile," a smiling Reddick said. "It was definitely a big league knock."
That it resulted in a run was even zanier.
"I have no idea how that worked out," Reddick said. "Something special. The baseball gods looking out for us, I guess.
"I was wondering why [Semien] was going and being sent in the first place. Then I saw the throw and I was like, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you.' I think he'd agree he had no business going. But sometimes you have to push the issue, and it worked."
Semien said he didn't expect third-base coach Ron Washington to give him the green light home. Crisp called the decision "scary," while manager Bob Melvin defended it.
"It's one of those basketball shots, where 'No, no, no ... yeah' when it goes in," Melvin said. "It actually was a good call if you look at all the variables involved, and that takes experience from the third-base coach, and aggressiveness."
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.