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Oakland A’s Sweep Mariners, Build Wild Card Lead

Over the weekend, the Oakland A’s swept the Seattle Mariners to take a three game lead in the wild card race. However, they still have their sights set on the division title: after the sweep, the A’s are only two games back from the Texas Rangers. Oh, and guess what? They get a three game series at home against Texas to close the season.

Here’s a look back at the A’s thrill sweep of the Mariners over the weekend.

Game 1: Oakland Wins 8-2

Oakland hasn’t been to the playoffs since they were swept by the Detroit Tigers in the AL Championship Series in 2006. This series against the lowly Mariners was exactly the tonic they needed to correct the problem.

In Game 1, the A’s were totally dominant, winning behind a strong pitching performance from rookie A.J. Griffin, one of five rookies in the rotation. Griffin is having a fantastic year: the rook is 7-1 with a 2.71 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. He allowed one run and four hits in 5 2/3 innings while striking out four and walking two. If everything breaks as planned, he will be on the mound for the regular season finale against the Texas Rangers, a game that could have massive playoff implications.  Griffin has faced the Rangers once this year and was utterly dominant, shutting the entire team out for six innings while holding their high-powered bats to a measly .100 batting average. “That’s the fun part of the business; you get to pitch in games that matter, especially this time of year,” he said after the game.

Game 2: Oakland Wins 7-4 in 10 Innings

You can’t say the A’s don’t have a flair for the dramatic. The A’s won Game 2 of their series against the Mariners in the most dramatic manner possible, with a three-run walk-off home run by Brandon Moss in the 10th inning. “Epic,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said after the game. “It’s a pretty dramatic win, maybe as dramatic as all.” The scrappy Oakland A’s, who seemingly came from nowhere this season, are now primed to potentially rip the division lead away from the Texas Rangers. “Our mind is still focused on trying to go after the division,” Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson said. “Every game out there is the biggest game of the year for us. That’s the way it’s been for the last month.”

Game 3: Oakland Wins 5-2

With this series-sweeping win against the Mariners, Oakland moved to within one win of the club’s first playoff berth since 2006. The A’s have been one of the biggest surprises in baseball this season, but their offense of young up and comers has been absolutely crushing it for the back half of the year. The team has hit 20 home runs in the last nine games and a Major League-leading 110 blasts since the All-Star break. The A’s are straight up cruising as they head into a three game series against the Rangers. They’re two games back from the division leaders.

“We’re just going to try to win tomorrow,” manager Bob Melvin said. “I think we’re best suited to just do that and not worry about all the different variables. We’re in the dugout today and all of a sudden the Angels score went 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. It’s a bit of a rollercoaster at times.”

A more confident team you will not find as the postseason approaches.

“It’s our choice,” closer Grant Balfour said. “If we go out there and win, good things are going to happen. The way we’re playing right now I feel like we’ve got some good momentum going. We want to keep it rolling all the way through October.”

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