Closer to clinching, A’s magic number is 2

Oakland, CA – The best news of the night was that the Texas Rangers lost to the Kansas City Royals. The sellout crowd at O.Co erupted when the final score was shown during the game. That means the magic number to clinch the American League West Division is down to two.

The A’s gladly accepted the assist from the Ranger as they dominated the Twins in a 11-0 shutout victory. Again Oakland’s offense took advantage of every opportunity from Minnesota’s troubled defense. A stellar performance by Bartolo Colon who allowed no runs, struck out eight and walked one. Colon scattered five hits over six frames.

“I was tired for a bit for awhile, but I have recovered good,” said Bartolo through interpreter Ariel Prieto.

“Now we’re seeing the movement again, we’re seeing the velocity coming back,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We were able to give him a little bit of a break with the D.L. and I think the last two times he’s had five days rest in between starts. So we’re seeing a guy really hitting his stride again after a down period.”

Yoenis Cespedes leadoff the second with a solo home run for the early 1-0 lead. Derek Norris followed with a double thanks to Oswaldo Arcia’s losing the ball in right field. Josh Reddick brought in the next run with a bloop infield single and Arcia’s next fielding error allowed Daric Barton to reach third on a single bringing in Reddick for the unearned run.

The A’s got their next run from Norris’ single in the fourth, advanced to third when catcher Chris Hermann over threw second base. That set up Alberto Callaspo’s RBI single. The fifth was the inning that the Twins gave away. A total of five runs scored to give Oakland a 9-0 lead. Starter Andrew Albers loaded the bases, Chris Young grounded a single to third baseman Eduardo Escobar. A simple play done a million times would’ve easily gotten the out.

“We threw the ball around, missed the ball, had some trouble in the outfield early and every time we missed a play they took full advantage of it,” said Minnesota’s manager Ron Gardenhire. “Not very much fun for us in our dugout.”

Escobar threw past first baseman Chris Parmelee clearing the bases leaving Young at second. Callaspo singled in Young and a wild pitch by Ryan Pressly while Daric Barton was at-bat brought in the ninth run. It was truly unbelievable on how the Twins handed this victory to the A’s. Lapse in judgement was an understatement on how pitiful this defense played. Josh Donaldson capped the night off with a two-run homer in the sixth.

“They made some miscues, and I think the important part is we were able to take advantage of it,” said Donaldson. “We’ve been scoring a lot of runs lately, and it’s one thing to score runs and do it early as we have been, but I feel like throughout the game we continually add runs on, and that’s even more important.”

Oakland plays tomorrow at 1pm and must await the final decision between the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers game. If the A’s win and sweep the series, they can clinch if the Rangers lose. But they’ll have to stick around and wait since that game is a few hours later. Oakland would win the American League West for the second straight season.

“Who knows? I could see it happen. It’s a long time to wait, though, so we’ll see,” Jed Lowrie said. “Going to the playoffs, it doesn’t matter when you celebrate. Getting the opportunity to go is what it’s all about.”

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