Oakland finally ended 14 years of postseason futility, riding Chad Pinder's go-ahead, two-run single in the fifth inning and repeated costly walks by Chicago's relievers to rally past the White Sox 6-4 on Thursday and win the decisive third game of their AL wild-card round series.
Sean Murphy hit a two-run homer in the fourth against Codi Heuer as A's wives and families cheered from suites high above the diamond.
Lou Trivino allowed the first two batters to reach in the seventh, hitting James McCann with a pitch. First baseman Matt Olson ran 98 feet to make a magnificent catch in foul territory for the second out, then Jake Diekman relieved and loaded the bases with a walk to Nomar Mazara before getting Adam Engel's groundout.
Opening day starter in July, Frankie Montas, pitched two innings for the win. Liam Hendriks gave up McCann's leadoff single in the ninth and closed out the game, a day after failing to do so.
Hendriks retired Mazara on a called third strike to end it.
Two relievers after Murphy's homer, Matt Foster walked Mark Canha with the bases-loaded to tie it, then Matt Olson's walk forced in another run that gave Oakland a 4-3 lead. Mazara hit a tying single in the fifth.
Led by top MVP candidate Jose Abreu, the White Sox ended a string of seven consecutive losing seasons to reach the postseason for the first time since 2008. They won the AL Central that year before losing 3-1 to Tampa Bay in the Division Series.
Loser Evan Marshall walked the bases loaded with a second straight free pass with two outs in the fifth to Marcus Semien before Pinder singled.
Melvin insisted Pinder's bat would help the A's in the playoffs, even after the infielder spent a stint on the injured list down the stretch with a strained right hamstring.
Melvin also turned to right-hander Mike Fiers to take the ball over lefty starter Sean Manaea.