Athletics clinch third straight playoff berth with a finale win

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Oakland Athletics finally clinched their third consecutive playoff berth -- on the last day of the regular season after a prolonged slump.

Sonny Gray threw a six-hitter to win for the first time in five September starts, Josh Reddick had an RBI triple and Oakland beat the Texas Rangers 4-0 Sunday to clinch the American League's second wild card.

The A's lost 30 of their previous 45 games before winning game No. 162. They play the win-or-go-home wild-card game Tuesday night at Kansas City, which won five of the seven games in the season series against Oakland (88-74).

After winning the AL West title the past two seasons, Oakland went into its game Aug. 10 with a 72-44 record that was the best in the majors. That was good for a four-game lead in the AL West and an 11-game edge in the wild-card standings.

Adam Dunn, acquired by the A's on Aug. 31, is going to the playoffs for the first time after playing his 2,001st career game -- the most by any active player before getting to the postseason.

The 34-year-old Dunn is in his 14th season and has said he plans to retire after this season when his contract is set to expire. He waived his no-trade clause for the Chicago White Sox to complete the deal, and previously played for Cincinnati, Arizona and Washington.

Gray (14-10) was 12-3 at the end of July, but was 1-7 in his 11 previous starts before Sunday. The right-hander struck out five with no walks in his second career complete-game shutout, both this season against Texas.

Nick Martinez (5-12) finished his rookie season allowing two runs and four hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out two without a walk.

Brandon Moss led off the Oakland second with a double to center, and Reddick followed with a triple over the head of center fielder Leonys Martin. Reddick scored on Stephen Vogt's bloop single to make it 2-0.

Texas had two runners on with no outs in the fifth after Tomas Telis doubled and Ryan Rua got an infield single on a ball that ricocheted off Gray's left foot. Trainers checked on Gray, who then got out of the inning by striking out Luis Sardinas before Adam Rosales grounded into a double play.

Oakland lost five of seven down the stretch to the Rangers, who finished 67-95 overall for their most losses since 99 in 1985. But they were 14-8 under interim manager Tim Bogar after Ron Washington resigned Sept. 5 for personal reasons.


Athletics: Midseason addition Jon Lester (16-11 overall, 6-4 in 11 starts for Oakland) is set to start Tuesday night at Kansas City.

Rangers: For the first time in five seasons, the Rangers are done after 162 games. Next is the offseason, when the first order of business will be to determine if Bogar will be their manager next season.


Athletics: Manager Bob Melvin didn't even check with 3B Josh Donaldson before putting him in the lineup. Donaldson is still sore after awkwardly banging his left knee diving for a ball Friday night, but stayed in that game and played Saturday, when he homered and had a nice defensive play. "There is a lot of character involved in that," Melvin said.

Rangers: Texas used the disabled list 26 times this season for 21 different players who missed a combined 2,011 games. Among the players on the 60-day disabled list that will have to be added back to the 40-man roster are Prince Fielder, Yu Darvish and Shin-Soo Choo.