The A’s travelled to Seattle to take on the Mariners in their final regular season series of 2013, needing just a win and a loss by the Detroit Tigers to guarantee themselves home field advantage in the ALDS. They made quick work of that goal. Bartolo Colon worked through six solid innings, allowing just a pair of solo home runs as the A’s cruised to an 8-2 victory, their 95th win of the season.
The A’s got to Felix Hernandez early, and they never really looked back. Typically dominant against the Athletics, Hernandez served up a rocket of a home run to Brandon Moss in the top of the first inning with a couple runners on to give the A’s a 3-0 lead. Felix would settle down and shut out the A’s for the remaining five innings of his outing.
Colon would allow just three hits and a walk in his six innings of work en route to his 18th win of the year. He lowered his ERA to 2.65, which puts him just a single point behind Anibal Sanchez for the American League lead, Sanchez makes his final start tomorrow against the Miami Marlins. Colon’s season has been nothing short of shocking, and nothing short of spectacular. His resigning, despite his PED suspension last year, has to be one of the top moves made of the previous offseason. Now Colon will have approximately a week to rest depending on how Bob Melvin chooses to build his postseason rotation.
The A’s offense came back to life upon the exit of Felix Hernandez, and Derek Norris continued crushing left handers with his ninth home run of the season, and his third as a pinch hitter as he came in for Stephen Vogt against the lefty Oliver Perez. He would also add an RBI double in the eighth inning against Tom Wilhelmson. Josh Donaldson salvaged some productivity from an 0 for 5 night with an RBI groundout, and Daric Barton supplied the other run for the A’s with an eighth inning RBI single.
The win didn’t come without it’s price, as Yoenis Cespedes had to leave his first start in left field in about two weeks with lingering shoulder soreness. He has already received a cortisone injection, so this isn’t exactly a good sign. The hope at this point though should be that he’s still able to hit, and can DH for the A’s during the playoffs. Missing his bat would be a huge blow to their postseason chances.
UPDATE Per Susan Slusser via Twitter, Cespedes is day to day and likely won’t play tomorrow.
With Boston holding a two game lead over the A’s for the best record in the AL, and the A’s clinching home field over the Tigers, there isn’t much left to play for over the next two days aside from padding some stats and trying to stay sharp. Jarrod Parker makes his last start of the season tomorrow afternoon against Brandon Maurer as he positions himself for a spot atop the A’s postseason rotation next weekend.