SEATTLE -- Practicing rest, the A's believe, is paramount to being postseason-ready.That's why they've been lending some downtime to several of their regulars since clinching a playoff berth this week. The results have been telling.The heavy-hitting A's can peel prominent pieces from their lineup and still rake with the best
SEATTLE -- Practicing rest, the A's believe, is paramount to being postseason-ready.
That's why they've been lending some downtime to several of their regulars since clinching a playoff berth this week. The results have been telling.
The heavy-hitting A's can peel prominent pieces from their lineup and still rake with the best of 'em, following up an eight-run attack with a nine-run outburst in Seattle on Wednesday for a 9-3 series-winning victory.
Khris Davis, who took his day off Tuesday, returned with might, belting his Major League-leading 47th home run in the seventh inning. Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder also went deep, as did Matt Olson, who enjoyed his first career grand slam to punctuate a six-run fifth.
"It's definitely cool, especially because I feel like I hadn't had a ton of success with guys in scoring position so far this year, so to get that was nice," Olson said. "We're just continuing the good baseball we're playing and trying to ride it into the postseason."
The A's, who played without Matt Chapman and Ramon Laureano, subsequently gained a game on the Yankees in the race for home-field advantage in next week's American League Wild Card Game. The Yankees, who have five to play, hold a magic number of two to clinch the top spot.
"That's been our team the whole year. It's a true team," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "The guys that aren't playing are pulling hard for the guys at their position. It's fun to watch, because they're getting the type of support from the guys that are usually out there, and that means a lot when you get a start and you know that the guy you're taking the place for is pulling for you as hard as anyone."
They're also collectively pulling for their biggest slugger to reach what would be an astounding milestone. Davis, whose 47 homers are tied with Reggie Jackson for fifth-most in A's history, needs three homers in as many games to hit the 50-homer landmark.
"I hope he's not thinking too much about it, but we all are," Melvin said. "We're pulling for him. There's a lot more to play for right now than just numbers, and when you're not in it that's kind of the focal point, to get some guys those numbers, but we're lucky enough to be able to try to do both."
"When he gets hot he gets hot, so I think he's capable of reaching that milestone," righty Edwin Jackson said. "It would be great for him, and it would be fun for everyone. We all want to see him to do it, we're all pushing for him to get there."
Jackson struggled in what could have been viewed as an audition to start the winner-take-all game, allowing three runs on five hits and five walks over 4 1/3 innings in his final regular-season outing. Mariners starter Felix Hernandez was also chased in the fifth, after he threw away a potential double-play ball and yielded a go-ahead single to Nick Martini.
Semien greeted right-hander Chasen Bradford with an RBI single. One out later, the Mariners elected to intentionally walk Davis to load the bases for Olson, who cleared them with his 29th home run. Oakland's 132 homers on the road are most in the Majors.
"I didn't feel like I had much feel of the ball tonight, and it showed," Jackson said. "Fortunately, we were able to score a lot and the bullpen was able to come in and do what they've been able to do all year."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Right-hander J.B. Wendelken, who has impressed out of the bullpen this month, was handed his toughest task yet, entering the seventh to face the heart of Seattle's order. All he did was strike out the side, fanning Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Denard Span to continue his surprising bid for a spot on Oakland's postseason roster.
"I wouldn't rule him out," Melvin said. "We're going to have some tough decisions to make.
"Goes out and strikes out the side and runs through the middle of the order. Showed off the changeup today, too. It's a true three-plus pitch mix. Good movement on the fastball, good feel for his curveball. The more he's out there, the more confident he gets, and you look at the stuff, the movement, this guy's got a chance to have a really, really nice career, and we think really highly of him."
Davis' 132 home runs since the start of 2016 are 11 more than the next closest player (Giancarlo Stanton).
HE SAID IT
"Everything now is just a day-at-a-time mentality. Can't really look too far ahead. We'll find out what's next in due time, and I'll just sit back and enjoy it and watch us continue to go out and battle and see how many games we can win in this last little stretch." -- Jackson
The A's will enjoy their final off-day of the regular season before embarking on a three-game series with the host Angels beginning Friday. Right-hander Mike Fiers, a candidate to start the Wild Card Game, gets the ball in the 7:07 p.m. PT opener. The Angels have yet to announce their starter.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.