- On Friday night, the A's almost blew a 9-2 lead by giving up six runs in the eighth inning, but they held on in the ninth for a 9-8 victory;
- Today, Oakland won a pitchers' duel, 1-0, behind Bartolo Colon as he outpitched Yu Darvish for the team's 87th win of the season.
Two bigs wins for the A's demonstrate their ability to survive under all circumstances: out-slugging the opposition in one victory and out-throwing the opponent in the other.
Now, Oakland is looking at some distinctly good postseason probabilities: they have a 99.9% chance of making the playoffs in 2013, with the 5.5-game lead in the AL West division and 7.5-game lead over the sixth-best/first non-playoff team in the AL currently (Cleveland).
But it wasn't easy.
After three RBI apiece from Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes on Friday night, the A's were cruising into the late inning with a seven-run lead. But Brett Anderson and Ryan Cook each couldn't retire a batter in their short, eighth-inning appearances, and Oakland only escaped the inning because of a bad call by the third-base umpire.
Sean Doolittle "got" that last out of the eighth inning -- Cespedes threw out Alex Rios advancing to third on a single to left, but replays showed the Rangers outfielder was probably safe -- and then with two outs in the ninth, Doolittle struck out Jurickson Profar, on a called third strike, with the tying run on second base.
Because regular closer Grant Balfour didn't pitch Friday night, he was available today -- and he also got the final out on the game on a called third strike, this time with the tying run on first base.
The A's scored the only run of the game today in the first inning, when Brandon Moss doubled down the right-field line to score Josh Donaldson from first base. Colon did the rest with eight innings of shutout baseball, striking out seven in the process.
Oakland only mustered four hits and one walk off Darvish in seven innings, while whiffing ten times against the Rangers ace -- but that one walk was Donaldson's in the first inning that cost Texas dearly in the end.
Sunday, the A's will go for the sweep in their final regular-season matchup against the Rangers, while the season series is now tied at nine wins each. Jarrod Parker (11-6, 3.55) will try to extend his unbeaten streak, while Texas sends Martin Perez (9-4, 3.60) to the mound.