4:05 PM ET, September 22, 2013
O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California
A.J. Griffin grabbed anybody he could to dance with in the middle of the room. Manager Bob Melvin stood in the hallway and stayed dry for a while, just smiling and soaking up the scene.
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His T-shirt said it all: "We Own The West."
"The only bad part about this is our clubhouse is going to stink for about two weeks," Reddick said.
Oswaldo Arcia homered and drove in six runs for Minnesota. But the Twins were just the latest team the A's turned into a footnote during another scintillating September run.
The A's clinched their 16th division crown and 25th postseason appearance when Texas lost 4-0 at Kansas City during the game.
Sonny Gray (4-3) gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings for Oakland, calling it "one of the most nerve-racking starts I've ever had." The A's scored six runs in the second inning and one in each of the next five to set the stage for their own celebration.
Bob Stanton/USA TODAY Sports
Athletics outfielder Chris Young gets doused by teammates while celebrating the team's AL West title on Sunday.
For the A's, it was a far-less dramatic scene than a year ago, when they won the AL West on the final day of the regular season by beating Texas to complete a series sweep.
"I think last year we surprised a lot of people," third baseman Josh Donaldson said. "I think this year we're an all-around better team and we feel like we belong."
This year's postseason push -- sealed with a week to spare -- was less surprising but equally remarkable.
The A's had the fourth-lowest opening day payroll at about $65 million. They have a roster full of mostly anonymous and up-and-coming players. And their home is an old, dual-sport stadium where sewage has leaked in the clubhouses and the dugouts in one sickening scene after another.
Still, the A's emerged as the team to watch this October in the Bay Area while the San Francisco Giants -- winners of two of the last three World Series titles -- sank out of the postseason picture.
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Oakland has won four straight and 13 of 16 to move a season-high 30 games over .500.
"I don't know how anybody could be surprised this year," outfielder Brandon Moss said.
The A's, who lost in five games to the eventual AL champion Detroit Tigers in the division series last season, are still trying to get home-field advantage. AL East champion Boston (95-62) currently holds the top spot and AL Central-leading Detroit (91-65) is trying to overtake Oakland (93-63) with six games left.
"Last year, it was euphoria at the end," Melvin said. "We were happy to be there. Didn't mean that we didn't go into the Detroit series with some tenacity and expectations to win. But this is just a whole different feel this year. We really did expect to be here as a team."
Melvin had refused to talk about anything related to the playoffs until his team sealed a spot. Even after guiding Oakland to consecutive division crowns in his first two full seasons, he deflected the attention to his players and let general manager Billy Beane bask in his "Moneyball" fame again.
"It's been a relatively smooth year," Beane said. "We haven't had a lot of crises, which means you don't have to see me a lot, which is perfect."
After tearing down the plastic sheets and putting away the bubbly in the clubhouse when the Rangers won Saturday night, the A's left nothing to chance.
In the second, Cole De Vries (0-1) walked three straight batters with two outs before Oakland's outburst. Eric Sogard blooped a two-run single, Crisp hit his 22nd home run and Donaldson doubled to put the Athletics ahead 6-1 and whip the green-and-gold clad crowd into a frenzy.
With the Twins batting in the third, word started to circulate around the Coliseum of Justin Maxwell's two-out grand slam that beat the Rangers in the 10th inning to seal the division title for the A's. Some players, noticing the high-fives and hollers in the stands, kept glancing at the manual scoreboard in left field.
The excitement subsided briefly when Arcia hit a three-run homer in the third to slice Oakland's lead to 6-4.
Then Maxwell's slam was shown on the video board between innings, setting off chants of "Let's go, Oakland!" from the announced crowd of 30,589. Players shared subtle hugs in the dugout, saving the celebration till the end.
Only the Yankees (51) and Dodgers (27) have more postseason appearances than the A's. ... Crisp joined the 20-20 club for the first time when he stole his 20th base in the sixth inning. ... RHP Mike Pelfrey (5-13, 5.34) starts for the Twins in their series opener with the Detroit Tigers on Monday night, while A.J. Griffin (14-9, 3.78 ERA) goes for the A's in their opener at the Los Angeles Angels.
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Alex Presley #1 of the Minnesota Twins is congratulated by teammates after scoring a...(Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Regular Season Series
|1st||O Arcia singled to center, A Presley scored.||1||0|
|2nd||E Sogard singled to left, J Reddick and D Barton scored, S Vogt to third, E Sogard to second advancing on throw.||1||2|
|2nd||C Crisp homered to right (356 feet), S Vogt and E Sogard scored.||1||5|
|2nd||J Donaldson doubled to deep right center, J Lowrie scored.||1||6|
|3rd||O Arcia homered to right (395 feet), B Dozier and T Plouffe scored.||4||6|
|3rd||D Barton homered to right (386 feet).||4||7|
|4th||J Lowrie homered to right (367 feet).||4||8|
|5th||J Reddick hit sacrifice fly to center, B Moss scored.||4||9|
|6th||B Moss hit sacrifice fly to right, E Sogard scored, C Crisp to third.||4||10|
|7th||B Dozier singled to center, E Fryer scored.||5||10|
|7th||C Crisp singled to center, D Barton scored, E Sogard to second.||5||11|
|9th||O Arcia singled to right, A Presley and B Dozier scored, O Arcia out at second.||7||11|
|View complete Play-By-Play|
|Stadium||O.co Coliseum, Oakland, CA|
|Attendance||30,589 (87.2% full) - % is based on regular season capacity|
|Weather||63 degrees, cloudy|
|Umpires||Home Plate - Tim McClelland, First Base - Marty Foster, Second Base - Wally Bell, Third Base - Marvin Hudson|
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