If the Oakland Athletics continue their power surge against the Minnesota Twins, they could be celebrating a second straight division title late Saturday night.
The Athletics can clinch a share of the AL West title in the afternoon Saturday after homering five times halfway through this four-game home set.
Five different Oakland players have homered in this series, with three going deep in Thursday's 8-6 win and two more in Friday's 11-0 rout. The Athletics (91-63) have won 19 of 25.
"We have a lot of guys in this locker room who can hit home runs,' Josh Donaldson said.
Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes were the latest Athletics to leave the ballpark on Friday, helping slice the club's magic number to win the West to two. Oakland can clinch the title with a victory and a loss by second-place Texas later at night in Kansas City.
"All I know is we have an afternoon game tomorrow and the Rangers are playing in Kansas City," manager Bob Melvin said. "We'll have to wait to see what happens."
Donaldson, hitting .382 during a streak in which he has reached base in 25 straight games, says he is buying goggles for this year's celebration.
"We still have to go out and take care of business," Donaldson said. "But I am actually getting goggles. My eyes hurt last year.'
Oakland has won four straight in the season series by outscoring Minnesota 45-11 since a 4-3 road loss Sept. 10.
The Twins (65-88) made it easy for the A's on Friday with a season-high four errors, and Oakland scored five unearned runs in the fifth inning. Eduardo Escobar was charged with two errors.
"We threw the ball around, missed the ball and had some trouble in the outfield early," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Every time we missed a play they took full advantage of it. Not very much fun for us in our dugout."
Cespedes returned after sitting out Thursday after receiving a cortisone shot in his right shoulder.
Nate Freiman is out with an abdominal strain, with Daric Barton again taking his place at first base. Barton is 7 for 17 in the season series.
The Athletics will start Jarrod Parker (11-7, 3.81 ERA), whose 19-start unbeaten streak ended Monday when he surrendered eight runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 12-1 defeat to the Angels. His streak was the longest by an A's pitcher since Lefty Grove went 21 such games in a row in 1931.
"I can either dwell on it or move on," Parker said.
The right-hander is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three career starts against the Twins.
Oakland will get its first look at Pedro Hernandez (3-1, 5.26), who has never recorded an out past the sixth inning in 11 career starts.
The Twins have won all three starts this month by the left-hander, recalled from the minors Aug. 30. Hernandez has no decisions and a 4.60 ERA in those outings.
Minnesota has lost 12 of 16 and continues to look to the future in the hopes young players like Oswaldo Arcia will blossom. Arcia is 7 for 20 with three solo homers in the season series.
The Associated Press News Service
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