"Those guys are feeling it over there," said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. "The fans are feeling it, the players are feeling it. You can sense the excitement in the air. It's great for our guys to be thrown into that environment, but we've got to finish things off."
The A's dramatic finish cost Seattle left-hander Jason Vargas his 15th win, after he'd closed out his strong season with seven innings of one-run ball in his final start.
"It's just one of those things," Vargas said. "That's what they're doing right now, and it won it for them today. I guess it was a nice way [for me] to finish, but not. It's bittersweet."
Vargas wound up with a no-decision, despite allowing just five hits, no walks and recording seven strikeouts. He closed out the year 14-11 with a 3.85 ERA, finishing with career highs in wins, innings pitched (217 1/3), starts (33) and strikeouts (141).
"I'm just so proud of the way he's pitched all year long and [the way he] finished this season," Wedge said. "He easily could have 17-18 wins, but he still ended with a tremendous year and great numbers. I love the way he finished it up today, and how he pitched and the way he competed. He put together a complete season, and really came into his own this year."
Kyle Seager and Michael Saunders, the Mariners' two biggest offensive breakout players this season, also stepped up again with home runs on Saturday to give Seattle the 4-1 lead it held for most of the game.
Seager ripped a homer to center to lead off the fourth, and Saunders soon followed with a soaring two-run shot to right, putting both into a tie with Justin Smoak for the team lead with 19 home runs for the season.
Seager increased his club-leading RBI total to 83, while Saunders -- who stole his 21st base in the second inning -- now sits one home run shy of becoming the Mariners' first 20-20 player since Mike Cameron in 2002.
The Mariners have homered in 18 straight games, one shy of their franchise record 19 in a row in 1999. They've hit 146 home runs on the season, well beyond the past two years' totals of 101 and 109.
But in the end, those accomplishments were overshadowed by the A's late rally.
"Those guys kept battling," said Saunders. "Their record and everything goes to show they've been battling all year. There was not one point in time where they gave up. We battled hard, too, but they ended up getting us today."
After Vargas turned the 4-1 lead over to his bullpen, rookie Carter Capps put two on with one out in the eighth. Wilhelmsen was summoned and got Yoenis Cespedes to pop out before allowing an RBI double to Moss. But a relay from Casper Wells to Dustin Ackley nailed Stephen Drew trying to score, keeping the Mariners' lead at 4-2 ... at least until Donaldson's smash in the ninth after Wilhelmsen walked Josh Reddick in his second inning of work.
"It's not over until the third out in the last inning, in this case the 10th," said Wilhelmsen. "Everything was where I wanted it to be. But you can't walk the guy on four straight pitches. It's going to bug me, yeah. But we've got a game tomorrow. I can't let that stay in my head."
Pryor also was kicking himself for the walk to Cespedes that preceded Moss' winning smash. Wedge had lefty Lucas Luetge warming in the bullpen, but left Pryor in to face the left-handed Moss, since he knew the A's would summon right-handed pinch-hitter Chris Carter take on Luetge.
"Carter got us earlier this year," Wedge said. "We're just looking for Stephen to make pitches right there."
That matchup proved to work for the A's, as well.
"He throws hard," said Moss. "Last night, he got me to pop up with the bases loaded on a pitch that was a little high, and I was really just trying to get a pitch down and in, something I could get the barrel on. First pitch, I ended up hitting it further than I thought I would hit it."
In the end, the A's left the Coliseum riding high once again, in a season where they've surprised the baseball world by posting a 90-68 record and holding a 2 1/2-game lead over the Angels for the final AL Wild Card berth.
"Donaldson's home run was epic," said A's skipper Bob Melvin. "And then for Moss to do what he did there, and what he's done for us since he's been here, that was a pretty dramatic win -- maybe as dramatic as all of them."