A's Path to the Postseason: Sept. 15, 2012

A's Path to the Postseason: Sept. 15, 2012

A's Path to the Postseason: Sept. 15, 2012
Rookie left-hander Tommy Milone allowed just two runs over 6 1/3 innings to earn his 13th victory as the A's beat the Orioles, 3-2, in Friday night's opener of a three-game series between two of the American League's most surprising teams.

Playing before of a sellout crowd of 35,067 and in a playoff-like atmosphere at the Oakland Coliseum, the A's extended their lead in the American League Wild Card race to two games over Baltimore and the New York Yankees, who are tied for first in the AL East.

Milone said he was motivated by a pregame visit in the clubhouse by right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who underwent emergency brain surgery last week after being hit in the head by a line drive. He got another boost from the large, loud crowd, who came out to watch a battle between playoff contenders -- and see postgame fireworks.

"It was awesome," Milone said of the crowd. "It kind of motivates you to go out there. When the crowd's behind you, it's just uplifting. It's just a lot of fun."

Today's key games to watch (all times ET)

Tigers (Sanchez, 7-12) at Indians (Masterson, 11-13) 4:05 p.m. Preview >

Rays (Shields, 14-8) at Yankees (Nova, 11-7), 4:05 p.m. Preview >

Angels (Greinke, 5-2) at Royals (Guthrie, 4-3), 7:10 p.m. Preview >

Mariners (Vargas, 14-10) at Rangers (Feldman, 6-11), 8:05 p.m. Preview >

Orioles (Britton, 5-2) at A's (Parker, 10-8), 9:05 p.m. Preview >

If the postseason started today ...

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Wild Card: Second Wild Card at First Wild Card
Division Series: Second-best AL record vs. Third-best AL record | Best AL record at Wild Card winner

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Wild Card: Second Wild Card at First Wild Card
Division Series: Second-best NL record vs. Third-best NL record | Best NL record at Wild Card winner

Postseason Bracket »

Postseason 101

Magic numbers
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.

Tiebreaker scenarios
A tiebreaker game will be played to determine a division winner, even if the tied clubs are assured of participating in the postseason. If a division championship tiebreaker is necessary, the head-to-head record between the clubs will determine home-field advantage. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.

If two clubs are tied for the two Wild Card berths, home-field advantage will be determined by the head-to-head record between the clubs. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.

Tiebreaker rules »

2012 postseason schedule
Wild Card playoff games: Oct. 5
Division Series: Oct. 6-12
AL Championship Series: Oct. 13-21
NL Championship Series: Oct. 14-22
World Series: Oct. 24-Nov. 1

Eric Gilmore is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.