Close your eyes, allow your mind to wander and revel in the thought as the A's and Detroit Tigers do their part to foster ideas of an October playoffs matchup once again.

Sure, it's not even June but it's never too early to get excited about the prospect of the two American League powers squaring off in a win-or-go-home series.

Lest anyone forget what that feels like, the Tigers and A's treated 15,590 fans to another sneak peek Wednesday night in a game that had all the makings of a postseason classic, with the A's prevailing 3-1 on a Josh Donaldson three-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning.

"For a fan, that was a fun game to watch right there," A's starter Scott Kazmir said. "Throughout the whole game, Anibal and I, it just seemed like we were just battling it out, out for out."

Kazmir and counterpart Anibal Sanchez went toe to toe for almost the entire game, with neither pitcher giving the other team much reason to believe.

"The last two games of this series definitely had that playoff energy, that electricity, that feel," A's closer Sean Doolittle said. —... When you're going up against a team like that, it's fun. This could be a big character-building win for us."

Wednesday's game showed why the A's and Tigers lead their respective divisions and why many expect them to meet again in the fall. Both teams waiting for the other to blink.

For the Tigers, that meant a fastball that Kazmir left over the plate in the fourth inning. And Torii Hunter was ready to pounce on it, which he did for a home run that broke up the scoreless game.

One run isn't much, of course. But when the Tigers have Sanchez on the mound, sometimes that's plenty. Sanchez confounded the A's for 81/3 innings. He didn't allow a hit until the fourth. No A's runner made it past first base until Eric Sogard doubled in the sixth.