The wild, wild AL West came to an end in one of the wildest ways possible on Wednesday: The Oakland A's, who started the season as an afterthought, erased an early four-run deficit and blew out the the Texas Rangers in a 12-5 victory in front of an O.co Coliseum crowd that was threatening to take off into orbit. It almost did, too, as Coco Crisp squeezed the final out in his glove, securing the franchise's first division title since 2006. The A's will advance to the ALDS against an opponent still to be determined while Texas faces the reality of their collapse putting them into Friday's do-or-die play-in game.
The win caps one of the most improbable comebacks in regular season history. The A's trailed the Rangers by a season-high 13 games at the end of June and were a garden variety .500 squad at the All-Star break. They soon caught fire, though, winning 12 of 14 to start the second half and were somehow able to overcome Bartolo Colon's drug suspension and injuries to pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson to keep the comeback bid alive.
Even still, the A's needed a frantic burst of winning to blast through the crack that the two-time defending American League champions kept open. They were five games back with nine games remaining and Elias says the A's are the first team in baseball history to erase such a deficit to win a division or league. How'd they do it? They split a four-game series in Texas last week, swept a weekend series against Seattle and blitzed the Rangers in three straight must-win games to start this week.