OAKLAND -- The A's enter their final series of the season on the cusp of a wild-card berth, which is enough in itself to boggle the mind.

Now consider they control their own destiny to the American League West championship, and the stage is set for a potentially historic three days at the Oakland Coliseum.

Sunday's 5-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners pulled the A's to within two games of first-place Texas as the Rangers arrive for a season-ending three-game series beginning Monday.

The A's would have to sweep all three games to capture the division crown -- just one loss gives the Rangers their third straight A.L. West championship.

But the way this storybook season has unfolded for the A's so far, there's no reason to think three straight victories is out of their grasp.

"It's our choice," A's closer Grant Balfour said. "We go out there and win, and good things are going to happen."

They're also on the verge of punching their postseason ticket with a wild-card berth. After a sweep of the Mariners, their magic number is one to clinch one of the American League's two wild card spots.

The A's (91-68) trail the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles -- tied atop the American League East -- by one game for the top wild-card spot.

But the A's need to win only one game against Texas, or have the Los Angeles Angels and Tampa Bay Rays each lose once, to secure at least the second wild-card berth and their first playoff trip since 2006.


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Were the A's to lose Monday but the Angels and Rays both lose, two clubhouse celebrations would break out at the Coliseum.

The A's would celebrate a wild-card spot, while the Rangers would party it up over a division title. It's weird to consider, but such is life with this year's addition of a second wild card in each league.

"We're just going to try to win (Monday)," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I think we're best suited to just to do that and not worry about all the different variables.

"Man, we're in the dugout and all of a sudden the Angels score goes 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. But it's bit of a roller coaster at times."

The A's kept the joy ride going for a crowd of 21,057 on Sunday.

They entered the bottom of the eighth tied 2-2 and having mustered just three hits.

Then Yoenis Cespedes hit a towering one-out home run to left that gave the A's the lead. After Brandon Moss' single, Josh Reddick crushed a two-run homer to the second deck in right field for a three-run cushion.

The A's send rookie Jarrod Parker to the mound Monday night against Martin Perez. Parker is 5-1 with a 2.83 ERA over his past eight starts, and he threw six innings of three-run ball against the Rangers in Arlington on Wednesday.

Oakland sends left-hander Travis Blackley to the mound Tuesday against 18-game winner Matt Harrison. Blackley hasn't made it through three innings in either of his past two starts.

"I don't know that we have any other options," Melvin said. " ... He's done some good things for us. I talked to him about redirecting his thoughts and trying to revert back and think about the good things he's done, and not get too consumed with the last couple of games."

Rookie A.J. Griffin will start Wednesday. He threw six shutout innings in his only start against Texas on June 29 but hasn't made it through six innings of any of his previous three starts.

  • Cespedes' 23 homers are third-most by a rookie in Oakland history, and his 82 RBIs rank fourth. He was also instrumental in the A's two-run first, delivering an RBI triple, then tagging up and making a mad dash for home on Moss' shallow sacrifice fly.

    Melvin was asked how Cespedes' impact compares to that of Angels outfielder Mike Trout, the consensus A.L. Rookie of the Year and an MVP candidate.

    "You look at Trout's numbers and they're incredible," Melvin said, "but I don't know of anybody that has a bigger impact on a team than Yoenis has on us."

  • Reddick made a big defensive play, making a perfect throw home to nail Justin Smoak, who tried to score from second on Carlos Triunfel's single in the second.          

    Reddick ranks third in the majors with 15 outfield assists, and that's the most by an A's outfielder since Mike Davis had 16 in 1983.

  • A's starter Tommy Milone gave up nine hits over 42/3 innings.

    The rookie left-hander is on turn to pitch in Friday's do-or-die wild-card game should the A's play in it, though Parker could also be an option on three days' rest.

    Brett Anderson, out with an oblique strain, is scheduled to throw off the mound Monday, but there might not be enough time to have him ready by Friday.

  • The A's bullpen combined for 10 shutout innings over the final two games against Seattle.

  • Were the A's to clinch a wild-card spot while the division title were still up for grabs, how much celebrating would be in order with business still to tend to?

    "My feeling is if you get into the postseason, you should be able to celebrate," Melvin said.

    Translation: Expect the champagne to flow should the A's lock up a wild-card spot.

    monday's game

    Texas (Martin Perez 1-3) at A's (Jarrod Parker 12-8), 7:05 p.m. CSNCA

    A.L. West race

    W L Pct. GB
    Texas 93 66 .585 --
    A's 91 68 .572 2


    A.L. Wild-card race
    W L Pct. GB
    Bal/N.Y. 92 67 .579 --
    A's 91 68 .572 --
    L.A. Angels 88 71 .553 3
    Tampa Bay 88 71 .553 3
    Note: New York and Baltimore are tied atop A.L. East; top two non-division winning teams earn wild-card berths.


    Magic number

    1 Combination of A's victories or losses by the Angels and Rays needed to clinch a wild-card spot.