Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 7/23/12
The AL's top pitching staff has helped carry the Oakland Athletics and their league-low payroll into the postseason picture. Now it will be responsible for attempting to shut down a lineup that's thriving even without its best slugger. Oakland seeks a season-high sixth consecutive victory when it visits the Toronto Blue Jays for the opener of a three-game set Tuesday night. The surging Athletics (51-44), with a roughly $55 million payroll that is slightly more than San Diego's, are among the AL's wild-card leaders with a 14-2 record this month following Sunday's 5-4, 12-inning victory that capped a four-game sweep of the AL East-leading Yankees. Seth Smith's homer tied the score in the ninth before Coco Crisp's RBI single in the 12th completed a comeback from four runs down. "I don't think there was anybody in the dugout or in the stands who didn't think we were going to win,'' Smith said. That confidence continues resonating within a team that has swept large-market teams lik...
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