The Texas Rangers got to finish the season with a meaningful game -- for the Oakland Athletics.
After the Rangers gave them fits over the last two weeks, the A's finally clinched their third consecutive postseason berth with a 4-0 victory Sunday in their regular-season finale.
"We played some really good teams down the stretch, and we were pretty competitive, and that's all I can ask out of my club," interim manager Tim Bogar said. "If you ask Oakland, I think they'll understand that they had to beat a pretty good team."
Texas finished 67-95, its most losses since 99 in 1985. But the Rangers were 14-8 under Bogar over the final three-plus weeks after Ron Washington resigned Sept. 5.
The Rangers won five of seven over the A's in that span, including a three-game sweep in Oakland before splitting the final four-game series.
But Oakland, which struggled against many teams down the stretch, finally secured the American League's second wild card after Sonny Gray (14-10) threw a six-hitter with five strikeouts and no walks. The 24-year-old right-hander has two career shutouts, both against Texas this season.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Bogar, pitching coach Mike Maddux and Triple-A manager Steve Buechele will be internal candidates to interview for the manager's job. Daniels also expects to talk to four or five external candidates, though he didn't give any additional names. He hopes to make a hire before the World Series.
Nick Martinez (5-12) finished his rookie season by allowing two runs and four hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Oakland lost 30 of its previous 45 games before winning game No. 162. The A's play the win-or-go-home wild-card game Tuesday night at Kansas City, which won five of the seven games in the season series against the A's (88-74).
"Now the pressure's off, and now we just go out there and play," Gray said.
While the A's had to wait until the last day of the regular season to get in the playoffs, Adam Dunn waited much longer: 2,001 games over 14 seasons to finally get into the postseason for the first time.
Dunn's 2,001 career games with the A's, White Sox, Cincinnati, Arizona and Washington were the most by any active player before getting into the postseason. He got doused repeatedly during the celebration in the visitor's clubhouse at the Rangers' ballpark.
It was the third season in a row and fourth in five years that a visiting team celebrated there. San Francisco won the clinching Game 5 of the 2010 World Series there; Baltimore won the 2012 AL wild-card game in Arlington; and Tampa Bay celebrated there last season after beating the Rangers in a wild-card tiebreaker game.
NOW THAT DUNN IS IN
With Adam Dunn finally making it to the playoffs, Rangers OF Alex Rios takes over the title as the active player with the most games played without getting to playoffs at 1,586. Texas has a $13.5 million club option for Rios with a $1 million buyout. He played his last game Sept. 4 because of an ankle issue and then an infection in his right thumb.
A day after being scratched from his final scheduled start because of a migraine, Rangers lefty Derek Holland pitched 2 2-3 innings in relief. Holland was 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in his 37 innings over six appearances after missing the first five months of the season. He had microfracture surgery on his left knee after being tripped by his dog on the stairs of his home last winter.
Published at 7:16 PM CDT on Sep 28, 2014 | Updated at 9:30 AM CDT on Sep 29, 2014
Copyright Associated Press