OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The plastic that was taped across the lockers in Oakland’s clubhouse came down and the champagne that was on ice went back into the cooler.
The Athletics will have to wait at least one more day before celebrating a playoff berth.
A year after capturing the AL West with a dramatic win on the final day of the regular season, Oakland lowered its magic number to one for clinching a second straight division title, beating the Minnesota Twins 9-1 Saturday behind the pitching of Jarrod Parker and hitting of Alberto Callaspo.
“It’s something where we know we’ve got to take care of what we do, and if we win it’s going to take care of itself,” said Parker, who allowed one run and four hits over six innings. “Right now we got to do what we do. We know it’s right there. If we handle what we do and we win games, it’s going to happen.”
The A’s were prepared just in case it happened Saturday.
After Oakland’s win, most of the team stayed in the clubhouse to watch the ending of the second-place Texas Rangers game against Kansas City. About 100 fans lingered in the stadium as well, viewing the game on Coliseum’s two big scoreboards.
When the Rangers recorded the final out to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, the celebration was put on hold.
Oakland can still clinch at home by beating Minnesota in the series finale on Sunday.
“It’s the best thing that can happen for any team, not just for us, to qualify in your home city,” said A’s slugger Yoenis Cespedes, who hit his 26th home run of the season in the eighth inning.
Callaspo also homered and matched his career high with four hits for Oakland.
The A’s have won 12 of 15 and are 16 of their last 21, opening a season-high 7-game lead over second-place Texas entering Saturday.
“We’re swinging the bats well and adding on and hitting home runs and doing a lot of things that we continue to do,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “The timing for that seems to be pretty good.”
Parker (12-7), who may start the A’s postseason opener, gave up one run and four hits in six innings, allowed only two runners past first and didn’t walk a batter for the fifth time this season. He gave up eight runs against the Los Angeles Angels on Sept. 16.
Callaspo matched his career highs with four hits and had three RBIs. Kurt Suzuki also homered for the A’s, and Jed Lowrie had three hits.
The game started after a two-hour rain delay. The visiting dugout was flooded and sewage backed up in the A’s coaches’ bathroom, the third such incident at the Coliseum this season. The infield was covered by a silver tarp before the game and workers repeatedly had to sweep big puddles of water away.
Josmil Pinto homered for Minnesota, 1-5 on its trip. Twins starter Pedro Hernandez (3-2) gave up six runs and eight hits in two innings.
“Any mistake you make right now they jump on you,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It’s like piranhas with blood in the water. They add on and just keep swinging. Every time we made a mistake they just kill you. They are really getting after it.”
Callaspo’s two-out single in the first drove in Lowrie, and the A’s opened a 6-0 lead with a five-run second. Chris Young had a sacrifice fly, Cespedes a two-run single and Callaspo a two-run homer.
Suzuki added a two-run homer in the sixth off Liam Hendricks and Cespedes hit 26th homer in the eighth.
NOTES: Minnesota is 4-13 in its last 17 games. … Oakland CF Coco Crisp was in the original starting lineup, then was scratched due to the lingering rains. … The Twins have a winning record against every AL West rival this season except vs. Oakland.