A’s reduce AL West magic number to one
OAKLAND, Calif. – The plastic that was taped across the lockers in Oakland’s clubhouse came down and the champagne that was on ice went back into the cooler.
The Athletics will have to wait at least one more day before celebrating a playoff berth.
A year after capturing the American League West title on the final day of the regular season, Oakland lowered its magic number to one for clinching a second straight division crown, beating the Minnesota Twins 9-1 on Saturday.
“It’s something where we know we’ve got to take care of what we do, and if we win it’s going to take care of itself,” said Oakland’s Jarrod Parker, who allowed one run in six innings. “Right now we got to do what we do. We know it’s right there. If we handle what we do and we win games, it’s going to happen.”
Alberto Callaspo homered for the A’s and tied his career high with four hits. Baldwin High School graduate Kurt Suzuki hit his second homer since joining the team late last month.
After the game was over, most of the A’s stayed in the clubhouse to watch the ending of the Texas Rangers’ game against the Kansas City Royals. About 100 fans lingered in the stadium as well, viewing the game on the Coliseum’s two big scoreboards. When the Rangers recorded the final out to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, the celebration was put on hold.
Oakland can still clinch at home by beating Minnesota in today’s series finale.
“It’s the best thing that can happen for any team, not just for us, to qualify in your home city,” said A’s slugger Yoenis Cespedes, who hit his 26th home run of the season in the eighth inning.
Parker (12-7), allowed only two runners past first base and didn’t walk a batter for the fifth time this season.
The Twins’ Pedro Hernandez (3-2) gave up six runs in two innings.
“Any mistake you make right now they jump on you,” said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire. “It’s like piranhas with blood in the water. They add on and just keep swinging. Every time we made a mistake they just kill you. They are really getting after it.”