OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics clinched the AL wild card spot Sunday, capping a comeback from an abysmal April as Mark Mulder earned his 20th victory in a 7-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Jermaine Dye, a key midseason acquisition, hit a three-run homer as the Athletics joined Seattle as the only teams in the majors to earn playoff berths.
The A's handed Seattle — which has won the AL West — its season-high fourth straight loss and first sweep of the year.
Oakland won its 12th straight home game, an ongoing record for the team since moving from Kansas City in 1968. The victory, coupled with Minnesota's 4-2 loss to Cleveland, put the A's in the playoffs for the second straight year.
Last season, Oakland won the West and Seattle earned the wild card spot.
This year, the A's stumbled from the start and were 8-18 on May 1. They became the sixth team in major league history to make the postseason after falling 10 games under .500, and the first since Toronto rebounded from a 12-24 start in 1989.
Oakland (92-58) has the second-best record in the major leagues behind the Mariners (106-44). The A's are 57-18 since June 27.
Seattle still needs eight wins in its final 12 games to tie the AL record set by the 1998 New York Yankees (114-48). The Mariners need 10 wins to match the major league record established by the 1906 Chicago Cubs (116-36).
The Mariners had not lost four straight since Aug. 12-20, 2000, when they dropped eight consecutive games.
RANGERS 5, ANGELS 2: At Arlington, Texas, Alex Rodriguez hit his 48th home run, breaking Ernie Banks' major league record for most in a season by a shortstop and lifting the Texas Rangers over the Anaheim Angels.
Rodriguez connected on the first pitch by Ramon Ortiz (12-10) in the third inning, just clearing the wall in right-center. Rodriguez tied Cleveland's Jim Thome for the AL lead with his 403-foot shot.
The home run also tied a franchise record for home runs in a season, matching Frank Howard's total in 1969 with the Washington Senators.
INDIANS 4, TWINS 2: At Minneapolis, Roberto Alomar and Ellis Burks each hit two-run homers, and Chuck Finley continued his September success as the Cleveland Indians beat the Minnesota Twins and opened a seven game-lead in the AL Central.
The Indians took two of three from the Twins, and are 12-4 against them this season. Second-place Minnesota has 12 games remaining, including three at Cleveland next weekend.
Finley (8-6), who was 6-1 in September last season, won his third straight start this month.
Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his 31st save in 34 opportunities.
TIGERS 12, RED SOX 6: At Boston, Eric Munson drove in four runs and Chris Wakeland homered to lead the Detroit Tigers over the Boston Red Sox.
Josias Macias had three hits, three runs and an RBI as Detroit's rookies combined to drive in seven runs on the day.
Jeff Weaver (12-15) allowed three runs — two earned — and five hits in six innings to win for just the second time in nine starts.
The Red Sox have lost 16 of 20 games, including two of three to the Tigers over the weekend. Hideo Nomo (12-9) took the loss.
DEVIL RAYS 1, BLUE JAYS 0: At Toronto, Rookie Joe Kennedy pitched four-hit ball for seven innings and Steve Cox homered as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays.
Cox homered in his second straight game for the Devil Rays, who won their first series since Aug. 21-23, when they took two of three from Baltimore.
Kennedy (6-8) is 3-0 in five starts since Aug. 14.
WHITE SOX 10, ROYALS 2: At Chicago, Magglio Ordonez hit a grand slam to reach 30 home runs for the third straight season, and Mark Buehrle pitched eight strong innings as the Chicago White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals for a three-game sweep.
Royce Clayton hit a three-run double and drove in four runs for the White Sox (78-72), who have won four in a row to get a season-high six games over .500.