OAKLAND – A Justin Maxwell grand slam about 1,800 miles away clinched the American League West championship for the A’s on Sunday.
The Kansas City Royals beat the Texas Rangers 4-0 in 10 innings on Maxwell’s blast, clinching a second straight division championship for Oakland. It came as the A’s were in the top of the third inning of their game against the Minnesota Twins. They took the field Sunday with a magic number of one to clinch.
A big portion of the Coliseum crowd stood and applauded immediately after Texas lost, obviously aware of the events taking place. Before the bottom of the third, Maxwell’s blast at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City was shown on the Coliseum JumboTron. The A’s celebrated in subdued fashion in their dugout, exchanging hugs as the crowd cheered.
A wilder celebration will ensue after the A’s finish Sunday’s game. They batted around in a six-run second inning and led 7-4 in the fourth.
It marks the fourth time the A’s have won consecutive A.L. West titles.
Last year, they won the division with a mad rush to overtake the Rangers on the final day of the regular season. The A’s have time to spare this year, clinching with six games remaining and allowing time to plan for an American League Divisional Series that won’t start until Oct. 4.
At 92-63, the A’s hold the second-best record in the American League behind Boston. Were the playoffs to start today, they would once again face Detroit in the best-of-five A.L.D.S. with home-field advantage on their side. They lost to the Tigers in five games last fall in the divisional round.