The A’s were perfectly willing to let Kansas City shoulder some of the work in the American League West Saturday.
The Royals were down 3-0 to Texas after the A’s finished taking care of Minnesota 9-1 when a Rangers loss would have secured the West title for Oakland.
That being the case, none of the A’s players or coaches left the Coliseum clubhouse. The lockers were all covered by plastic sheeting to make sure the worst of a champagne celebration didn’t get into the players’ and coaches’ lockers.
There was even a sign, complete with advertising from a beer company, naturally, that read “2013 American League West champions.’’ That sign was discretely covered by white paper that could have been removed with one good tug.
That tug will have to wait until at least Sunday. Despite the excitement the A’s got from Eric Hosmer’s homer for the Royals, the best Kansas City could do was cut the deficit to 3-1 before losing.
It’s up to the A’s to win on Sunday or the Rangers to lose on Sunday. Either eventuality will make the A’s the West champs.
When the final out was made in the Kansas City-Texas game, most of the A’s were still in their uniforms. The quickly changed, showered and left. They’d been willing to get some help from the Royals, but with a 7½-game lead in the West with 7 games to go, Oakland is perfectly suited to do it alone.
They are a club on a roll, winning 15 of their 20 games this month and 20 of their last 26. Oakland has 92 wins this year and last year’s total of 94 wins seems likely to fall given the level at which the A’s are playing.
“We’re swinging the bats well and adding on and hitting home runs and doing a lot of things that we continue to do,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “The time for that seems to be pretty good.’’
Doesn’t it just?