Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/3/12
OAKLAND -- Baseball's most improbable story of 2012 is complete: The Oakland Athletics are champions of the American League West. Written off by the experts following an offseason in which young stars were again traded, the A's faced a 13-game deficit as late as June 30 before stealing the division title from Texas, beating the Rangers 12-5 Wednesday. "The bottom line is we believed we should be here in this situation," center fielder Coco Crisp said, "and that's not going to change." The A's, who picked up six games in the standings over the final nine days, rallied from an early 5-1 deficit Wednesday. Oakland never held sole possession of first place all season until getting the final out of the season's 162nd game. Two-time World Series runners-up Texas, meanwhile, led the division for 176 consecutive days until Oakland tied for first Tuesday. "You've got to play the game between the lines," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "There were some things along the line we didn't do very well. We accept that and won't make any excuses." The A's will open the playoffs Saturday or Sunday against an opponent to be determined. The Rangers will play as a wild-card entrant Friday against either the Baltimore Orioles or New York Yankees. "Today it was win or lose the division," Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "Now it's win or go home." The Athletics' big fourth-inning rally started when Rangers starter Ryan Dempster issued a walk to Brandon Moss. Three consecutive hits followed to produce two runs -- a double by Josh Reddick along with singles from Josh Donaldson and Seth Smith -- sending the veteran Dempster to the showers. "They stayed on a couple pitches and got some hits," Dempster said. "I should have done a better job of executing." Reliever Derek Holland retired the first two he faced, but he couldn't work out of the two-out jam as Crisp placed a double in the right field corner to tie it. Stephen Drew walked before the key play of the inning occurred. Yoenis Cespedes skied a fly to medium center on a 3-1 pitch, a routine play, but the ball tipped off the end of Josh Hamilton's glove for a two-run error, and the Oakland uprising was complete -- six runs on four hits and a 7-5 lead. Hamilton explained he usually slows down when he settles under a ball hit like Cespedes'. "I didn't do that. I continued running basically at the same speed and just missed it," Hamilton said. "No excuse for it, but it happened, and I can't take it back." The comeback was necessary because Texas quieted the standing-room-only crowd of 36,067 early with a five-run rally in the third inning. David Murphy drove in two with a single as the Rangers appeared to seize control of the game early, especially after Dempster set down Oakland 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the frame. But the Rangers couldn't tack on against Oakland's stingy bullpen. "They took advantage of the opportunities presented to them," Washington said. "We just didn't take advantage of the opportunities presented to us." Oakland catcher Derek Norris hit an RBI single in the fifth inning to give the A's a three-run advantage. And Norris, who didn't start, hit a leadoff homer on an 0-2 pitch to kick-start a four-run rally in the eighth to put the game out of reach. Moss supplied a two-run single in the inning. Right fielder Josh Reddick complimented A's manager Bob Melvin for pulling the group together. "He's done a great job," Reddick said. "All the platoons he's had to put together and all the rookies he's had, he's done something nobody thought he could bring together." Oakland's bullpen supplied clutch relief. Evan Scribner tossed three innings of two-hit, shutout ball. Jerry Blevins struck out Hamilton to get the final out of the sixth. Ryan Cook pitched out of a two-on, none-out jam with an infield groundout and a pair of strikeouts in the seventh. It was Sean Doolittle's turn in the eighth. After he got the first two Rangers, Doolittle flashed a flair for the dramatic by striking out Hamilton after teasing Texas with a walk issued to Andrus. Grant Balfour, pitching for the fifth day in a row, threw a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the regular season. "I don't think there's one guy in here who hasn't dealt with adversity, so we'll deal with it and hold our head up high," Kinsler said. "Now instead of having to win 11 games, we have to win 12." NOTES: The A's are the fifth team to come back from a deficit of 13 or more games to win a pennant or division title. ... Oakland hit a major-league-leading 112 home runs after the All-Star break. ... The A's have won 15 AL West titles. ... Dempster threw three-plus innings, his shortest stint of the season.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Giants’ Victor Cruz cleared to practice

PETA sends Warren Sapp vegan lobster following shark bite

Report: Josh McCown has looked better at times than RG3

Mike Trout does David Ortiz impersonation

Suspended Steelers WR Martavis Bryant set to help coach HS football

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tickets for ‘Monday Night Football’ game in Mexico sell out

Kevin Durant says he never told Russell Westbrook he was staying in OKC

God Shammgod hired by Mavericks as player development assistant

Soccer player terminates contract after being attacked by stray dogs

Todd Bowles confirms Ryan Fitzpatrick is Jets starting QB: ‘It’s his job’

Carmelo Anthony shocked Dwyane Wade left Miami for Chicago

Giants acquire All-Star Eduardo Nunez from the Twins

Vikings QB injured trying to kick open door

Josh Gordon thankful for support from Browns

Report: Seahawks DE Chris Clemons retiring

Denard Robinson blames falling asleep at stoplight for pond crash

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Hue Jackson: Browns will give Josh Gordon a fresh start

Diamondbacks nearing Daniel Hudson trade

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

What would George Costanza have traded to get Bonds and Griffey?

Gabby Douglas can make USA Gymnastics history at Olympics

Week 3 will determine the Big Ten's reputation this season

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker