OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Dan Haren ended his first season in
Oakland on a winning note even if the Athletics will be staying
home for the playoffs again.
Haren won his last start of the season to guarantee himself a
winning record, beating Los Angeles 6-1 on Wednesday, one night
after the Angels clinched the AL West and eliminated Oakland from
"It was an important game for me, just being able to finish the
season on a good note," said Haren, who signed a $12.65 million,
4-year contract earlier this week. "This was a start that I'll
think about a little longer because there's no chance to redeem
Haren (14-12) allowed one run and four hits in seven innings to
wrap up a successful year. Acquired in the offseason from St. Louis
in a deal for Mark Mulder, Haren proved to be a reliable starter.
After starting the season 1-7 with a 4.87 ERA, Haren went 13-5
with a 3.30 ERA in his final 24 starts.
"He certainly has had a terrific season," A's manager Ken
Macha said. "He's going to be a guy on this staff next year that
will carry a big load. It's a good way to celebrate getting a
Eric Chavez hit a two-run homer to reach 100 RBI, and Bobby
Kielty and Mark Ellis also homered as Oakland's slumping offense
woke up a couple of nights too late.
With the AL West title clinched, the Angels rested most of their
regulars. Vladimir Guerrero, Garret Anderson, Chone Figgins, Adam
Kennedy, Bengie Molina and Darin Erstad sat out, and Orlando
Cabrera left after batting in the first inning.
Chavez and Kielty provided the bulk of the offense with two-run
homers against Paul Byrd (12-11), who is competing for a spot in
Los Angeles' playoff rotation. Byrd allowed five runs -- three
earned -- and six hits in six innings.
"We'll see how things play out," Byrd said. "I'll do whatever
they want me to do. I want to win a World Series. Since I was a
little kid it's been on my to-do list."
Despite clinching the playoffs, the Angels still have something
to play for over the final few days of the season. They trail the
New York Yankees by two games in the race for the second-best
record in the AL and home-field advantage in the first round.
Manager Mike Scioscia said his focus was on giving his starters
some rest, pointing out the Angels opened on the road in the first
two rounds in 2002 when they won the World Series and had
home-field advantage last season when they were swept by Boston in
the first round.
"What's important is how you're playing, not who you're playing
or where you're playing," Scioscia said. "It would be great to
have home-field advantage, no doubt about it. But not at the cost
of putting some of these guys at serious risk of missing the
The A's had scored four or fewer runs in all 16 of their losses
-- six by one run -- since taking a two-game lead over the Angels on
Aug. 30. But they broke out early against Byrd when Chavez hit his
27th homer in the first inning, giving him 100 RBI for the fourth
time in his career.
Chavez led off the fourth with a double and scored on Nick
Swisher's single to make it 3-1. Kielty, starting for the second
time since straining his oblique muscle on Sept. 4, followed with
his 10th homer.
Scioscia said the game would have little impact on his playoff
rotation. Bartolo Colon and John Lackey have solidified the first
two spots with Jarrod Washburn, Byrd and rookie Ervin Santana
fighting for the other two.
"There are not any tryouts going on," Scioscia said. "By now
we know the roles the guys can fill. It will be what moves we can
make to help win ballgames. That's what it comes down to."
A's CF Mark Kotsay was ejected by 2B umpire Mike Everitt
after being called out trying to steal in the third inning. Kotsay
had argued with Everitt on Monday night as well, when he was called
out on a checked swing. ... The A's can post their sixth straight
90-win season by winning their final four games. Only San Francisco
and Oakland won at least 90 games each of the past five years. ...
Colon will start Thursday on three days' rest in order to be on his
regular turn for the playoff opener next Tuesday.