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For playoff-bound A's, AL West title still in reach

OAK View Full Game Coverage LAND -- A's manager Bob Melvin looked both ways, in fear of what every skipper dreads: the Gatorade bucket. Little did he know Josh Reddick was just around the corner with a more sugary treat.

"I should have been more aware that a pie was coming," a smiling Melvin said.

"That was me, of course," Reddick said. "I never had the opportunity to get him this year. I thought it was the perfect setup, so I had to do it. We got him good."

Normally reserved for walk-off festivities, the pie made a special appearance for an even bigger cause for celebration, as the A's washed it down with champagne after clinching a playoff berth with a 4-3 victory over the Rangers on Monday.

Yet, even while sporting the champagne-protective goggles, the A's were adamant about one thing.

"We've still got a lot of work to do," Reddick said.

The A's began the season predicted to land near or at the bottom of the American League West cellar, some even betting on a 100-loss season. Yet the West hasn't been won, and with two more wins in as many games left with Texas, it's Oakland's for the taking.

"We're definitely going to come back tomorrow focused," outfielder Coco Crisp said. "This is awesome and we're going to celebrate it, but we don't want to go out with today as the only accomplishment for us to come out with. There's still a possibility of something a little bit sweet, but obviously making the playoffs is the dream. Right now we're going to be celebrating, but tomorrow we're going to come and try to win another ballgame."

"I feel like, for the first time in a while Texas is under a little bit of pressure," third baseman Josh Donaldson said. "We're going to make sure they keep feeling that."

Such mentality starts with Melvin, whose voice spoke over all the ones telling his players what they weren't supposed to do. From the start of Spring Training, he insisted that the focus remain on winning, as the cliche goes, one game at a time.

"Bob assumes we're going to win every day, and he makes me think we're going to, too," A's co-owner Lew Wolff said. "I think the real key to this thing is Bob Melvin and the coaching staff. Plus, the guys are wonderful."

"Our confidence is sky-high right now," said rookie Jarrod Parker, who struck out six in six-plus innings on Monday to earn his 13th win. "This is a team that knows we can do a lot of things. We do it together, and that's the biggest thing."

Together, then, they'll forge on.

"We've got one thing on our mind, and this is definitely a stepping-stone of where we want to go," designated hitter Jonny Gomes said.

Oakland Athletics, Coco Crisp, Jonny Gomes, Jarrod Parker, Josh Reddick