Reddick, Kazmir put A's on cusp of postseason

Three-RBI night backs lefty as Oakland cuts magic number to one

Reddick, Kazmir put A's on cusp of postseason

ARLINGTON -- The A's reduced their magic number to clinch an American League Wild Card spot to just one game with a commanding 6-2 victory over the Rangers on Friday evening at Globe Life Park, where champagne was on standby as they waited out the Mariners' game against the Angels in the postgame clubhouse.

Oakland was a Seattle loss away from punching a ticket to the Wild Card Game, but the Mariners beat the Angels, 4-3, and halted the A's celebration for at least another day. One more Oakland win or Seattle loss puts the A's in the postseason for a third consecutive year.

"We feel good about tonight's win. Obviously we'd like to see this game go our way," said Sean Doolittle, referring to the Mariners' game, while still in progress, "but I think with the way that we played tonight -- and we still have two to play -- we're feeling a lot better about things."

"We just have to keep momentum forward. That's something we haven't been able to do," said Josh Reddick, who led the way for the Oakland bats by going 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs. "So we have to come out tomorrow, keep the same mindset."

Reddick was caught saying, "Go Angels! I never thought I'd say that."

"That's weird," Doolittle said, smiling. "I don't know if I can say that, but I hope the Mariners lose. I don't want to see the Angels win. I want to see the Mariners lose. I don't know if I can say that without gagging."

The A's remain one game behind the Royals for the top Wild Card spot, though Kansas City is only one game behind Detroit for the AL Central title. Both clubs hold a tiebreaker over the A's, who so badly wanted to avoid needing to win the Wild Card Game to reach the AL Division Series.

At this point, though, amid a startling second-half collapse, they're simply glad to even be so close to securing a chance to participate in the postseason again.

"Right now, we're just trying to win," said Josh Donaldson, who played the entire game despite a knee injury sustained in the third inning. "It doesn't matter if it's 10-0 or 1-0."

Friday's win, buoyed by a much-needed strong outing from Scott Kazmir, was the A's first since Monday and only their fourth in their last 11 games. Oakland is just 28-37 since taking the best record in baseball, 59-36, into the All-Star break.

Offensive woes have continually plagued this team, but on Friday the A's looked like their first-half selves, relying on the long ball -- Reddick's fourth-inning solo shot snapped Oakland's 31-inning homerless streak -- and a handful of timely hits, including back-to-back RBI knocks from Jed Lowrie and Reddick in a three-run fifth, providing more than enough wiggle room for Kazmir.

The lefty didn't really need it, after giving up a run in the first. Oakland came back with two runs in the third on a two-run double from Adam Dunn, hitting in the second spot for the first time since 2008, and Kazmir completed seven innings with just four hits allowed and no walks with five strikeouts for his 15th win. He was 0-4 with an 8.58 ERA over his previous six starts.

"That's been a long time coming, it feels like," said Kazmir. "It feels good. I was attacking early, and being able to hold the lead after the second inning, that was huge. Just trying to go out there and get outs.

"Fastball command was there for me. That was the key."

"That was awesome watching him do his thing," said Doolittle. "I think he'll say he hasn't pitched as well as he's wanted to the past handful of outings, but tonight, that had to be one of his better starts of the year.

"Tonight, that was A's baseball. You get a great start like that and guys are able to capitalize with timely hits with guys on base, and once they got a lead they kept swinging the bats well the rest of the night and the defense was there. That was a really fun game to be a part of."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.