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Mon, Sep 23, 2013 - 10:05 PM ET
 

Athletics-Angels Preview

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Although the Oakland Athletics have clinched a second straight AL West title, they still have something to play for with home-field advantage in a division series up for grabs.

It could still be another day, however, until they turn their entire focus to playoff seeding.

After celebrating their division crown, it's uncertain how many regulars will be in the starting lineup Monday night when the A's open a road series against the Los Angeles Angels.

Oakland (93-63) found out during its game against Minnesota on Sunday that it won the West with Texas' loss in Kansas City. Word spread of the Rangers' loss in the third inning, but the news didn't deter the A's, as they rolled to an 11-7 victory to complete a four-game sweep.

After winning, Oakland then celebrated in the clubhouse and on the field with beer and champagne.

"The only bad part about this is our clubhouse is going to stink for about two weeks,'' right fielder Josh Reddick said.

The A's, who have moved a season-high 30 games over .500 by winning 13 of 16, are now jockeying for playoff seeding. They trail AL East-champion Boston by 1 1/2 games for the league's best record and have a two-game edge over Central-leading Detroit for home field in a possible division series.

"I think last year we surprised a lot of people,'' third baseman Josh Donaldson said. "I think this year we're an all-around better team and we feel like we belong.''

Oakland dropped two of three at home to the Angels (76-79) last week after winning nine of the season's first 13 meetings.

The A's were scheduled to give the ball to A.J. Griffin, but are now expected to turn to Tommy Milone (11-9, 4.17) with the division wrapped up.

Milone, who tossed two scoreless innings Friday, made his most recent start at Texas last Sunday, yielding a run in five innings of a 5-1 win. The left-hander is 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA in three starts against the Angels this season.

Josh Hamilton is 7 for 17 with two homers lifetime against Milone, while Mike Trout is 1 for 8 this season.

Trout was 1 for 10 with four walks in a weekend series against Seattle after homering in each game in Oakland last week. He is batting .340 with six home runs, 16 RBIs and 11 runs in his last 12 games versus the A's.

Yoenis Cespedes had homered in three straight games before going 0 for 5 on Sunday. Coco Crisp stayed hot, though, hitting a three-run home run - his third homer in four games.

Crisp is 1 for 7 lifetime against scheduled starter Garrett Richards (7-6, 3.77), but Brandon Moss is 4 for 8 with three doubles in their 2013 matchups.

In making his 11th start since replacing Joe Blanton in the rotation, Richards allowed a run in seven-plus innings Tuesday in Oakland's 2-1 walk-off win.

"I feel like I've some major strides this year in a positive way,'' said the right-hander, who is 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA in his last four starts. "I feel good about where I'm at right now.''

The Angels are trying to bounce back after losing 3-2 Sunday, their third defeat in 12 games. They left 13 men on base and went 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position, and are batting .097 (3 for 31) in such situations in their last five games.

Tagged: Angels, Athletics, Josh Hamilton, Josh Reddick, Josh Donaldson

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