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Athletics' Melvin, Nats' Johnson win top manager honors

The SportsXchange

The voting for Major League Baseball's Manager of the Year awards mirrored the seasons of the winning skippers.

Oakland's Bob Melvin earned a close win for the American League honor over the Baltimore Orioles' Buck Showalter, just as the Athletics rallied to edge the Texas Rangers for the AL West title.

Washington's Davey Johnson cruised to a victory in National League balloting after his team rolled to an NL East championship with a big-league-best 98-64 record.

Melvin received 16 first-place votes for the AL honor, with Showalter receiving the other 12. Both were listed first or second on all 28 ballots from members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Johnson received 23 of 32 first-place votes for the NL award. Runner-up Dusty Baker of the Cincinnati Reds got five first-place votes, and San Francisco Giants skipper Bruce Bochy received four.

Both winners previously won Manager of the Year awards in the opposite league. Melvin was the NL Manager of the Year with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007, and Johnson captured the AL award in 1997 with the Orioles.

Melvin was honored for his team's dramatic comeback from a 13-game deficit. Oakland picked up six games in the standings in the final nine days, sweeping Texas in the final three-game series to win the division by one game. The A's never held a division lead until they recorded the final out of the season's 162nd game.

Making the comeback all the more remarkable was the fact that the A's entered the season viewed as an afterthought in the division. Texas, the two-time defending league champion, and the Los Angeles Angels, who reloaded by signing free agent slugger Albert Pujols and left-hander C.J. Wilson, were the heavy favorites in the AL West. The A's, meanwhile, dealt All-Star starting pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill, as well as All-Star closer Andrew Bailey, in separate offseason moves.

After a slow start, Oakland surged in the second half, going 51-25.

The Nationals, on the other hand, never were out of first place after May 21. They clinched a playoff berth with two weeks remaining before wrapping up the division championship and the league's best record. The Montreal/Washington franchise never previously won a division title.

Johnson received credit for his work in turning around a team that went 80-81 the previous year.

Manager of the Year votes were submitted following the regular season, so postseason results weren't a factor. Oakland lost in five games to the Detroit Tigers in the AL Division Series, while Washington dropped a five-game NL Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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