Instant Replay: A.L. West title all but official

Instant Replay: A.L. West title all but official
September 21, 2013, 5:30 pm
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The Athletics have won 12 of their past 15 games, and they are 15-5 in the month of September. (USA TODAY IMAGES)


OAKLAND – The A’s are showing no appetite for drama right now.
They beat up on Minnesota Twins pitching for the second straight game in Saturday’s 9-1 rout, which came after a two-hour rain delay at the Coliseum.
That lowered their magic number for clinching the American League West to one, and after taking care of business on the field, they retreated to the clubhouse to watch the Texas Rangers’ game against Kansas City. The A’s needed a Texas loss to clinch the division, but the Rangers were leading the Royals 3-0 when the A’s recorded the final out of their game.
Regardless of when they celebrate, the A’s have kept their foot on the pedal throughout the month of September. They’ve won 12 of their past 15, and they are 15-5 for the month.
Starting pitching report
Jarrod Parker (12-7) got right back on track after suffering his first defeat in nearly four months. He held the Twins to one run over six innings and surrendered just four hits. Surely it was what Bob Melvin wanted to see after Parker gave up seven earned runs in 4 1/3 innings on Monday against the Angels. That outing appears just a blip on the radar given how effective Parker was Sunday.
He had only one strikeout but he also didn’t walk a batter.  He lowered his ERA to 3.74, but since May 17 he has pitched to a 2.90 mark.
Bullpen report
Dan Otero and Jerry Blevins closed out the Twins over the final three innings. Lopsided victories the past two days have allowed A’s manager Bob Melvin to rest key relievers such as Grant Balfour, Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle.
At the plate
The A’s feasted on Twins pitching for 16 hits. Perhaps most importantly, Yoenis Cespedes continues to swing a very hot bat this month, and his offense is showing no ill effects from a right shoulder injury that is relegating the outfielder to DH duties for now.
Cespedes launched a deep homer in the eighth, his 26th of the season and his third in his last three games. He had three RBI on Saturday, including a two-run single in a five-run second inning.
Second baseman Alberto Callaspo has also heated up in recent games. He recorded the third four-hit game of his career, and he chipped in three RBI from the No. 5 spot in the lineup. He was bumped up in the batting order when Coco Crisp was a late scratch, presumably to keep him from playing on a slick playing surface and avoid injury.
In the field
The A’s played an errorless game; Minnesota committed two errors.
 After sitting through the long delay, a crowd of 26,393 was charged up and vocal as the A’s jumped to an early lead. As a bonus, sunshine broke through after the stormy weather passed.
Up next
Sonny Gray (3-3, 2.50) takes the mound in the homestand finale against Minnesota right-hander Cole De Vries (0-0, 7.88). First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m.

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