The Oakland Athletics finished their final series against the Houston Astros with three straight wins this weekend, and now they will travel to Minnesota and Texas this week as they face the Rangers for the final time this season as well.
The A's won today, 7-2, beating the Astros at the O.co Coliseum, behind six strong innings from Bartolo Colon and one big offensive inning -- Oakland scored all seven runs in the third inning, including a three-run homer run from designated hitter Seth Smith.
Oakland is now 83-60 this season, and the team has a 1.5-game lead on the Texas Rangers as the two teams prepare for their three-game series that starts next Friday. The American League West rivals from the Lone Star State hold the top wild-card spot and have a three-game edge over the Tampa Bay Rays for that postseason slot.
The A's took over first place from the Rangers on Friday night, with a 7-5 victory that saw the home team come back from a 3-1 deficit in the early innings to win. On Saturday, Oakland escaped with a hard-fought 2-1 win over the pesky Astros.
Overall, this first season for Houston in the AL West was a nice one for the A's: the Astros lost 15 of the 19 games between the two teams this season, giving Oakland a big boost in its pursuit of a second straight division title in 2013.
The A's outscored the Astros, 108-60, in those 19 games.
Oakland gets a day off tomorrow before the Minnesota series, and the Twins (61-80) actually represent 37% of the A's remaining 19-game stretch to close the regular season. Oakland will host Minnesota back at the Coliseum for four games on September 19-22.
That favorable schedule to end the season also includes six games against the Los Angeles Angels (67-75) and three games against the Seattle Mariners (65-78).
The Texas series next week is the last time the A's face a team with a winning record this year.