It was the 107th time in Dunn's 14-year big league career he's batted second, but the first since 2008. He entered the night having hit .276 with a .388 on-base percentage and 28 home runs in 416 at-bats from the spot.
"We're just trying to mix it up some," said Melvin. "Draw a walk or two and see how it works out. When you're stagnant offensively some, sometimes just a change of scenery or mixing it up some can be beneficial."
"As long as I'm in there, it doesn't matter," said Dunn, badly wanting to get to the playoffs for the first time in his lengthy career. "It's not like we're screwing up a good thing right now. I think it's a way bigger deal to other people than it is to the players in here."
The A's are in dire need of some offensive production, particularly with men on base. Crisp reached five times in Thursday's series-opening loss and didn't score once.
The A's entered the game with a magic number of two over the Mariners to clinch an American League Wild Card berth.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.