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OAK@SEA: Milone fans 10 to win his 12th game

Once the pie-in-the-face revelry subsided, the A's knew the bottom line: They'd helped themselves immensely with their classic comeback on Saturday against the Mariners. But they still have work to do as Sunday's finale against Seattle arrives.

With the Rangers and Angels watching the A's walk-off victory while enduring a long rain delay in Texas, the American League West and Wild Card postseason bids remain up for grabs. What is known is that the A's are even more firmly stationed in one of the two Wild Card spots after Saturday's victory, and their magic number to clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2006 is down to three.

What A's manager Bob Melvin hopes is they maintain the steady approach they have all season to get themselves in this position in the first place.

"We're trying to keep it loose, as loose as we can -- and I know it's starting to sound the same, but we really just try to play for the day and then worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes," Melvin said. "As long as we can try to keep it the same as we have all year, I think that's probably best suited for our personality and what we're trying to do."

The A's will be doing one thing the same on Sunday, for sure: They'll be putting a rookie starting pitcher on the mound. They'll be doing it gladly, too, as lefty Tommy Milone has delivered an A's record with 13 wins as a rookie, second most among AL rookies. With 185 1/3 innings pitched in 30 starts, he ranks second in the league, as well.

Plus, he's hot: Milone is 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA over his last four starts, 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA over his last seven.

The Mariners will also put a rookie on the mound, and right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has been finishing the season strong in the rotation. He began the year in the bullpen, and has gone 1-3 with a 3.76 ERA in seven starts. But the 22-year-old has been strong as a September callup, going 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three outings.

"Nothing is guaranteed, but he's made an impression on us as a starter," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "Hopefully, he pitches well again his final time out. I think he's built some confidence to know he can start up here and get big league hitters out. I like the way he uses all his pitches. He's down in the zone. When he misses, they're good misses, for the most part.

"He's had a little bit of adversity and handled that well. I think the experiences this year should lead him in the right direction. If you look at his arsenal, he's ready to be a big league pitcher. It's just a matter of what role and how far he's able to take it."

Mariners: Saunders envisions 20/20
• Michael Saunders blasted a two-run shot on Saturday for his 19th homer of the season. He already has 21 steals, so he's just one long ball shy of a 20-20 season. It would be the first for the Mariners since 2002, when Mike Cameron had 25 homers and 31 steals.

The feat has been accomplished nine times by five different players, with Alex Rodriguez doing it three times, Cameron and Ken Griffey Jr. twice apiece, and Ruppert Jones and Phil Bradley once each.

A's: Anderson making progress
• Brett Anderson, who left a game earlier this month with an oblique injury, threw long toss again on Saturday, the third straight day he did so. The left-hander is on pace to possibly be available for a potential one-game Wild Card playoff on Friday, although that would be Milone's day to start.

Anderson has a Monday bullpen session to pitch before the A's will know just how far along he is.

"I don't know," Melvin said on Saturday. "We have to see how we get there, and we do have to get there first. We're just trying to keep all of our options open and see how he feels, and see how everyone does leading up to that potential point."

• Brandon Moss' three-run homer in the 10th on Saturday gave the A's their Major League-leading 14th walk-off victory.

Worth noting
• A season series that began with a two-game split in Tokyo will end on Sunday in Oakland. The A's clinched the season series with Seattle on Friday, and lead 11-7 heading into the finale. Over the last seven seasons, the A's have won the series in even-numbered years and the M's in odd-numbered years.

• Once this one is done, both teams will be involved in games that matter in the final series of the season. The Mariners head home to meet the Angels, who are clinging to their postseason hopes, and the A's and Rangers will meet in Oakland with AL West and Wild Card implications. Comments