A's miss playoffs for 1st time in 5 years

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Manager Ken Macha quickly asked for a Steelers score. Starter Tim Hudson talked about eating potato chips on his couch and changing his offseason workout routine.

What a strange ending to the Oakland Athletics' disappointing season.

Rookie Nick Swisher singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the A's defeated the playoff-bound Anaheim Angels 3-2 on Sunday.

Aaron Sele pitched into the seventh inning and Jeff DaVanon hit
an RBI triple for the Angels, who won seven of their previous eight and clinched the AL West on Saturday.

Anaheim opens the division series at home Tuesday afternoon against Boston and Curt Schilling. Jarrod Washburn is expected to start for the Angels.

"I feel good about the Red Sox because we have home-field advantage," said Washburn, who doesn't recall the 1986 matchup between the clubs won by Boston after the Red Sox rallied from a 3-1 deficit. "I was 12 years old in 1986 and I don't remember the
game. I didn't have cable where I lived at the time, so I didn't watch it."

The A's tied the game in the seventh on a two-run double by Adam Melhuse that followed Swisher's leadoff single and a double by Jermaine Dye.

Dye finished 3-for-3 in what could have been his final game with the A's. The right fielder has a $14 million mutual option for 2005. He received a warm ovation when lifted for a pinch-runner after the double.

"That was good. I was happy to see it," Hudson said. "I think he was a favorite in the clubhouse and wherever he goes he's going to be a favorite there."

Swisher lined a single to left off Kevin Gregg (5-2) to score
Eric Byrnes from third. Justin Duchscherer (7-6) worked two scoreless innings for the win.

The Angels won their first division title in 18 years and fourth overall by beating the A's 5-4 on Saturday, taking all the drama out of the season finale.

Oakland, which won the division three of the past four seasons, missed the playoffs for the first time since in five years. Players spent the morning packing their lockers and saying their goodbyes.

The team's 91 wins set an Oakland record for most victories without reaching the postseason.

Andres Galarraga started at designated hitter for the Angels, needing one home run to reach 400 for his career. The Big Cat went 0-for-3 and was hit by a pitch.

Galarraga, 43, was diagnosed with a recurrence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which had caused him to miss the entire 1999 season, last November. He underwent surgery in November and had a stem cell transplant in February.

"I can say I came back from two cancers," Galarraga said. "I didn't get very good pitches to hit today, but I'm happy. I wanted to hit a home run, and I tried real hard. I'm happy that I got the chance to play."

He was called up in September after signing a minor-league contract Aug. 4. Galarraga appeared in 25 games with Class AAA Salt Lake, batting .304 with four homers and 19 RBI.

He's not sure if he'll make the playoff roster, but the Angels have appreciated his presence. Galarraga hit a pinch-hit homer in Friday's 10-0 win.

"He has a passion to play this game," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That makes it extra special with his presence, and people have reacted to that."

Washburn was scheduled to start Sunday, but the Angels saved him and went with Sele instead. Sele is not expecting to make the postseason roster.

"I'm assuming I'm going to be a cheerleader," Sele said. "We're in the playoffs. It takes 25 guys to get there. Any way I can contribute, I'll do it."

Hudson allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings, struck out six and didn't walk a batter. The A's had set up their rotation to have aces Mark Mulder, Barry Zito and Hudson for the final three games, but that wasn't enough.

Even with the frustrating finish, Hudson found a place for a little humor when asked about his troublesome stomach muscle that sidelined him for more than a month.

"I'm not going to be as much muscle-head-in-the gym Hudson. More Jane-Fonda-in-the-gym Hudson," he said, smiling. "The gym normally can't hold me. Now, I'll be doing ankle weights and tubing."

Game notes
The Angels were 20-8 in their last 28 road games and 28-13 over their last 41 away from home. ... The A's lost the season series to the Angels 10-9 -- the first time Oakland has dropped the series since going 4-8 against Anaheim in 1999. ... The final game drew 33,640 fans. ... Sele is 15-7 with a 3.84 ERA in 31 career starts vs. the A's.