OAKLAND — Travis Blackley allowed one run over six innings in a strong bounce-back performance that helped the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 3-1 to move into a first-place tie in the AL West with Texas and set up a one-game showdown for the division title.
A night after holding a raucous celebration after clinching their first playoff berth since 2006, the A’s erased the last piece of what had been a 13-game deficit in the division race on June 30 to take a share of first place for the first time since March 29.
Blackley (6-4) gave up three hits and struck out five a week after the Rangers knocked him out with a five-run first inning in the shortest start of his career. He allowed only an RBI double to Josh Hamilton in what was the latest surprising performance in an improbable season for the low-budget A’s.
Giants 4, Dodgers 3: At Los Angeles, San Francisco eliminated the Los Angeles Dodgers from playoff contention, as a strong performance from Barry Zito dashed their wild-card hopes.
The defeat left the Dodgers two games behind St. Louis with only one game left in the regular season. Los Angeles had won six in a row to stay in the race for the second NL wild-card spot, but Mark Ellis lined out to center field with a runner on second base to end it.
The defending World Series champion Cardinals will open the playoffs Friday at Atlanta in a one-game matchup.