The Los Angeles Angels are in perfect position to wrap up the AL West before the final weekend this year.
Steve Finley hit a two-run homer, John Lackey pitched six strong innings, and the Angels moved within one victory of clinching their second straight division title with a 4-3 win over the Athletics on Monday night in Oakland, Calif.
The Angels opened a five-game lead and lowered their magic number to two. They will send 10-game winner Ervin Santana to the mound against lefty Joe Kennedy to try to finish off the A's tonight.
Lackey didn't allow a hit until Jay Payton singled to center to start the fifth, when Oakland got a two-run double by Jason Kendall. Eric Chavez hit a solo homer in the eighth for the A's.
Lackey won his third straight decision, though it was just his second victory in September. The Angels won for the ninth time in 10 games. Los Angeles beat out the A's in the season's final weekend a year ago, and Oakland missed the playoffs for the first time in five years.
The A's needed a four-game sweep of their division rival to have any realistic chance of avoiding their second straight year without a playoff berth.
TIGERS 4, WHITE SOX 3: At Detroit, Curtis Granderson's leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Detroit a victory over the White Sox. Chicago's lead in the AL Central dropped to two games over idle Cleveland and its magic number remained at five to clinch the division. The White Sox had a 15-game lead on Aug. 1, and if they fail to finish in first it would be one of the biggest collapses in baseball history.
ROYALS 5, TWINS 0: At Minneapolis, rookie J.P. Howell pitched five hitless innings before he was pulled and Angel Berroa homered to lead Kansas City over Minnesota, handing the Twins their fourth straight loss. Andrew Sisco, Ambiorix Burgos and Jeremy Affeldt completed the three-hitter for the Royals.