(OAKLAND) -- With the 2013 American League West title sewn up by the top of the third inning today, the Oakland Athletics now had larger aspirations for their final seven games.
Consider the first test passed.
The A's overcame that shaky third inning -- when word spread through the stands at the O.co Coliseum the Kansas City Royals had beaten the Texas Rangers, Oakland was up 6-1 yet soon it was just 6-4 after a three-run home run by Minnesota Twins left fielder Oswaldo Arcia -- to beat the visiting Twins for the fourth straight game, closing out their regular-season home schedule with a 52-29 mark.
Overall, Oakland is now 93-63 and trails the Boston Red Sox (95-62) by 1.5 games in the chase for the best record in the AL -- and the resulting home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, considering the AL won the All-Star Game back in July, too.
This could mean a lot to the A's, so while it's great they won their second straight division title, the team has a lot more ahead of it to accomplish.
Oakland is two games ahead of the Detroit Tigers (91-65) for the No. 2 seed in the AL playoffs, and the A's would like to keep that edge, at the very least.
With six games left -- three in Los Angeles and three in Seattle -- Oakland may have a tough time catching Boston, even though all three AL division winners/leaders have nothing but road games remaining on their schedule next week:
- Boston has five games left, two in Colorado (71-86) and three in Baltimore (81-74). The Orioles are currently 4.5 games out of the second wild-card spot and clearly on fumes at this point, so those games may not matter to them;
- Oakland has six games left, three against the Angels (76-79) and three against the Mariners (68-88). But the A's are just 16-16 against these two teams this season;
- Detroit has six games left, three at Minnesota (65-90) and three at Miami (57-98). The Tigers still haven't clinched the AL Central division, however, so they'll be playing hard at least at the beginning of the week.
Tampa Bay and Cleveland currently occupy the two wild-card spots, followed closely by Texas (1.5 games out).
While the A's want to win and chase that top seed, they also want time to rest nagging injuries and set up a playoff rotation for the first round's best-of-five series. Clinching with a week left in the season gives them every opportunity they could hope for in those departments.