Published September 30, 2012
| Sports Network
Tommy Milone aims to pitch the Oakland Athletics to a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners on Sunday at the Coliseum and get them closer to a playoff spot in the process.
Oakland pulled out a thrilling win on Saturday, as Josh Donaldson belted the tying two- run homer in the ninth inning and Brandon Moss won it with a three- run shot in the 10th to give the Athletics a dramatic 7-4 triumph.
The A's -- winners in 14 of 19 at home -- reduced their magic number to three for clinching its first playoff berth since 2006. While they currently occupy one of the AL wild card spots, the A's also just 2 1/2 games back of the Texas Rangers in the AL West.
"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," Oakland manager Bob 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."
Oakland, which closes its regular season with three games against Texas, can clinch a playoff spot on Sunday with a win and a Tampa Bay loss to Chicago, plus the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim losing both of their games to the Rangers.
"We focus on playing one game at a time," Donaldson said. "Every game out there is the biggest game of the year for us. We've been playing playoff baseball for the last month."
Oakland starter Dan Strailey lasted just 4 1/3 innings, giving up four runs -- three earned -- on three hits. He walked four and struck out three.
But Pedro Figueroa, Pat Neshek, Evan Scribner and Ryan Cook combined for 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief for Oakland, giving the A's lineup a chance to tie the game back up in the ninth.
In taking a no decision, starter Jason Vargas pitched seven solid innings for Seattle, allowing just one run on five hits, while striking out seven and walking none.
"He easily could've had 17 or 18 wins," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of Vargas. "I love the way how he finished it off today and how he pitched and the way he competed. He put together a complete season and really came into his own this year."
Milone has been terrific for Oakland this season posting a 13-10 mark to go along with a 3.74 ERA. Milone has not received a decision in his last two starts, but pitched well enough to get the win on Tuesday against Texas, as he surrendered two unearned run and six hits in six innings of a 3-2 win.
He's 2-1 in four starts versus the Mariners with a 2.42 ERA.
Seattle will counter with righty Erasmo Ramirez, who is 1-3 with a 3.42 ERA. Ramirez lost to the Angels on Tuesday, as he allowed five runs (3 earned) and seven hits in six innings.
Ramirez has faced the A's twice (1 start) and is 0-1 with a 1.00 ERA against them.
The A's lead the season series with Seattle, 11-7, and have won six straight and eight of the last nine matchups between the teams.