OAKLAND -- There are times when it seems as if Chris Young couldn't climb over .200 with crampons, climbing boots and a Sherpa.
In the A's 7-3 victory over Cleveland on Sunday, Young singled in a run and hit a tiebreaking home run. That got his average to .197. In mid-August, you would expect he would have found a way to get off the interstate.
One more hit would have him over .200. He could have been there on this homestand, and with panache. But in the first two games against Houston, his bid for a walk-off homer went foul by inches Tuesday, and when he tried for another walk-off Wednesday, the Astros' Robbie Grossman stole it from him with a great catch.
Undeterred, Young stepped up in the fifth inning Sunday with the A's and the Indians tied 3-3 and crushed a homer that no one was going to get without a jet pack.
"He's probably six inches away from two walk-off homers against Houston," manager Bob Melvin said. "But he comes back with another big one today."
Young's power has come in sputters and gasps, but when it has come, it has often been most opportune from an Oakland perspective. Three of his 11 homers, including Sunday's, have broken ties. Two more have been three-run blasts that carried the A's from behind to ahead. Four other homers have been solo blasts that have come when Oakland trailed by two runs.
"I'm feeling good," Young said. "You can let the ball going foul or guys robbing homers from you get you down. You've got to be able to do what you have to do at the plate."
Sunday's game, which also featured a highlight-reel-quality catch in the eighth inning in center field from Young, came after the Rangers lost to Seattle, enabling the A's to move to within one-half game of first-place Texas in the American League West.
And that's where Young's focus is. He doesn't know if he will start Monday when the Mariners come in to start a three-game series. Center fielder Coco Crisp, out for a week with a wrist injury, is due back, so Young will be back to playing whenever and wherever needed.
Asked what the focus of his final six weeks of the season will be, Young had no problem sorting it out.
"It's going to be on us getting to the playoffs," he said. "That's where we are now, and we want the playoffs. Once we get there, it's another season. Whatever I can do, whenever I can do it, is what I'm focused on."
The playoffs are likely to be on the A's minds plenty in the immediate future. Over the next two weeks the Rangers play the two teams with the worst records in the American League -- the Astros and the White Sox -- along with Seattle and Minnesota. None has a winning record, with the Mariners, nine games under .500, the best.
The A's, meanwhile, play Seattle, then the Baltimore Orioles, the first-place Detroit Tigers and the Tampa Bay Rays. Those latter three teams are a cumulative 51 games over .500. Oakland is 17 games over .500, behind the Tigers and the Rays but ahead of the Orioles.
So if Young has been saving clutch late-game hits in his bag of tricks, now would be a great time to unleash them.
"I thought I'd been hitting the ball hard here, I just hadn't gotten any breaks," Callaspo said. He said the homer was special because "it gave us back a run" after his error at third base set up a two-run Indians rally.
Anderson, who last pitched in the big leagues April 29, is recovering from a sprained right ankle and stress fracture of his right foot. Anderson threw 49 pitches for the River Cats in 21/3 innings.
Seattle (Aaron Harang 5-10) at A's (Jarrod Parker 8-6), 7:05 p.m. CSNCA