The A’s (92-69) will find out their opponent in the AL division series. Minnesota and Detroit meet starting at 2:10 p.m. EDT with the winner entering the postseason as the AL Central champion and the loser going in as the wild card.
Oakland also will learn if Rich Harden (4-0, 3.35 ERA) will pitch well enough to be a factor in the playoffs. If Harden can make his third start problem-free start since his coming off the disabled list, he is expected to start Game 3 or 4 at McAfee Coliseum.
Harden is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA and .143 opponent batting average in his last two starts. Two trips to the DL this season with back and elbow injuries limited to the right-hander to one start in a nearly five-month span.
He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out five over five innings of a 12-3 victory over Seattle on Tuesday that gave Oakland the 14th division title in team history.
“I didn’t really have my best stuff,” Harden said. “It was one of those nights where you have to fight through it.”
Harden is 5-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 11 appearances, including 10 starts, against the Angels. He allowed three runs and five hits in eight innings of a 5-3 victory on April 21 for his last win before going on the disabled list for the first time this year with a strained back muscle.
After posting shutout wins in the first two games of the series, the Angels (89-72) rallied for a 7-6 win on Saturday. Macier Izturis had a two-run double and Chone Figgins—batting fourth for the first time in his career—added a two-run, bases-loaded single in the eighth inning
Francisco Rodriguez struck out the side in the ninth to break Bryan Harvey’s 1991 club record for saves in a season with his major league-leading 47th.
“There’s nobody else that deserves it, maybe other than Troy Percival,” said Salmon, who’s playing his final game. “Frankie’s been a dominant force in this league the last few years, and he was one of the reasons we won the (2002) World Series.
“So anything like this that comes his way, I’m so happy for him. The guy goes out there in the toughest inning of the game and shuts the door.”
Salmon, the 1993 AL Rookie of the Year, had a single in four at-bats during the win. He missed all of 2005 recovering from knee surgery, and has played a total of 135 games since 2004 after averaging 138 in each of the previous 11 years.
“I’m sure I’ll be sore (Sunday), but I want to play,” Salmon said. “Hey, it’s the last game I’ll ever play, so I’ll be in there. I think the video tributes in the last few nights have shown my age to a lot of these young guys. They all know I’m old, but I don’t think until they actually saw the grainy video that they realized how old I am compared to them.”
The 38-year-old Long Beach, Calif., native has one homer in eight career at-bats against Harden and needs one more to become the 115th player in major league history to reach 300. Salmon has 28 homers and 100 RBIs in his career against Oakland.
Right-hander Dustin Moseley (1-0, 5.14 ERA) will make his second career start and third appearance for the Angels. He surrendered four runs and 10 hits in five innings of a 10-5 win over Cleveland on July 17.
Moseley also allowed two hits in two innings of relief during a 12-6 loss to Texas on Sept. 16.
Los Angeles is looking to win 90 games in three straight seasons for the first time in franchise history.
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