The Oakland A’s have done the improbable: with a 4-3 win over the Rangers on Monday night at the Coliseum, the A’s have clinched a playoff spot.
It was a clutch performance by starting pitcher Jarrod Parker, who allowed three runs in six innings, striking out six.
Oakland got on the board first with a two-run first inning. Josh Reddick knocked in a run with a single up the middle, then with the bases loaded, Rnagers’ starter Martin Perez balked to force in a run to give the A’s a 2-0 lead.
Texas battled back against Parker, as they didn’t make things easy on the A’s. Elvis Andrus blooped a single into left to score a run in the third, then Michael Young homered in the fourth to tie the game at 2-2.
But the difference in the game was the fifth inning, where the A’s took the lead. Adam Rosales led off with a double, and Coco Crisp knocked him in with a two-bagger of his own. Crisp stole third, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Moss. After five, Oakland had a 4-2 lead and could smell the playoffs.
Mike Napoli cut the lead in half in the seventh with a solo homer. That knocked Jarrod Parker out of the game, and the A’s bullpen would dominate from there.
Behind a fiery crowd at the Coliseum, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook, and Grant Balfour were perfect throughout the final three innings. Balfour struck out the side in a very impressive ninth inning, sending the A’s to the postseason and the crowd into mass hysteria.
The A’s are now 92-68, and have clinched at least a wild card spot in the AL. They are tied with Baltimore for the top wild card spot. In addition, they are just a game behind the Rangers in the division with two games left to play. Oakland must win their final two games against Texas to clinch the AL West.