Cespedes hits go-ahead homer as A's beat Mariners

Associated Press Published: September 30, 2012
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Another dramatic win in hand, the Oakland Athletics gathered around the big screen clubhouse TV and began feasting on Mexican food while watching the Angels and Rangers play the second game of their Texas doubleheader.

The upstart A's are still chasing an AL West title with three games to go. And that's about as ideal a scenario as anyone around here could have envisioned in a season full of injuries, sweeping changes and even a drug suspension for key starting pitcher Bartolo Colon.

"Oh, we're pumped," third baseman Josh Donaldson said.

Yoenis Cespedes hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning to move Oakland a win closer to the club's first playoff berth in six years, and the A's beat the Seattle Mariners 5-2 on Sunday to stay right on the heels of Texas in the AL West race.

Cespedes also hit an RBI triple and Brandon Moss had a sacrifice fly in the first inning for the A's (91-68), who are two games behind Texas (93-66).

The two-time reigning AL champion Rangers come to the Coliseum for the final three games starting Monday with the division crown still up for grabs.

"It's our choice," closer Grant Balfour said. "If we go out there and win, good things are going to happen. The way we're playing right now I feel like we've got some good momentum going. We want to keep it rolling all the way through October."

Oakland leads the Los Angeles Angels (88-71) by three games for the second AL wild card.

Cespedes sent a 1-2 pitch from Shawn Kelley (2-4) towering into the left-field seats for his 23rd homer. He keyed another dramatic victory for the A's a day after Moss hit a three-run drive in the 10th inning of Oakland's 14th walkoff win.

Josh Reddick connected with a two-run shot for his team-leading 32nd homer two batters later as the A's made it a sweep.

Surprising Oakland, with its energetic roster of rookies, has hit 20 home runs in its last nine games and has a majors-best 110 since the All-Star break.

But the A's will have to wait at least one more day to secure a playoff berth. The Angels kept their hopes alive by rallying in the ninth to win the opener of the doubleheader at Texas.

Oakland dropped its magic number to one for clinching the club's first playoff berth since 2006. The A's were swept that year by the Tigers in four games of the AL championship series.

"We're just going to try to win tomorrow," manager Bob Melvin said. "I think we're best suited to just do that and not worry about all the different variables. We're in the dugout today and all of a sudden the Angels score went up and it's so emotional this time of year. Your thoughts can go back and forth based on one scoreboard change. It is exciting, it is fun. It's a bit of a rollercoaster at times."