OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics captured the AL West with another improbable rally in a season full of them, coming back from four runs down and a 13-game division deficit to stun the two-time defending league champion Texas Rangers 12-5 on Wednesday.
Josh Hamilton dropped a fly ball in center field for a two-run error that put the A's (94-66) ahead 7-5 in a six-run fourth inning. Hamilton's Rangers (93-67) are headed to the new one-game, wild-card playoff on the heels of just their second three-game sweep of 2012.
Both teams had to wait to learn their opponents from a pair of night games: Boston at New York, and Baltimore at Tampa Bay.
Rays 4, Orioles 1
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Evan Longoria homered three times and the Tampa Bay Rays beat Baltimore 4-1 Wednesday, ending the Orioles' bid to force a one-game tiebreaker for the AL East title.
The loss left the Orioles as a wild-card team. They'll play Friday at Texas, with the winner advancing to the division series.
Baltimore began the day one game behind the New York Yankees in the division. The Orioles needed a win, plus a loss by the Yankees to Boston, to pull even.
Longoria finished the season with a bang for the second straight year, hitting solo shots off Chris Tillman in the first and fourth innings and adding another solo shot off Jake Arrieta in the sixth.
With a chance to tie the major league record, Longoria grounded out in the eighth.