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Athletics Would Rather Win AL West Title on the Field than by Astros Losing

With their magic number for winning the American League West title down to one after a win over the Giants Saturday, Oakland Athletics pitcher Jesús Luzardo and first baseman Matt Olson said the probably would not watch the Astros, but would monitor the score instead.

The Oakland A’s left the Coliseum late Saturday afternoon knowing that they were on the verge of an American League West title.

There was a chance for a celebration Saturday evening, but in this age of pandemic, that wasn’t happening. And maybe it wouldn’t have happened even without the specter of the coronavirus.

After beating the Giants 6-0 for the second consecutive day, the A’s had a 33-19 record and a magic number of one to lock down the West. A loss by the Astros, who were playing a night game at home Saturday, would give the A’s the title.

For A’s first baseman Matt Olson, he said he’d probably monitor the game, but he more than likely wouldn’t watching.

“I’m sure I’ll check the score just to know what happens,” Olson said. “But we want to come in tomorrow and get the win and kind of celebrate then. It’s always better when you win and do it as opposed to somebody else losing to kind of make it happen.

“So, we’re going to continue to take care of our business regardless. Games do still matter. And we want to have some momentum going into the playoffs.”

In pre-2020 times, teams in the A’s situation might get together in a bar or restaurant or hotel room to watch the game with the idea that they could celebrate together as soon as it was official. They might even have stuck around the Coliseum for a few extra hours.

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But this is 2020, the year of COVID-19, and what happened in the past isn’t happening now.

“I mean with COVID, I’ll probably celebrate by playing video games in my apartment,” Saturday’s winning pitcher, Jesús Luzardo, said. “I think tomorrow, like Oly said, it’s probably a better idea to go out and win tomorrow and not count on other people’s losses.

“I think it’s big, either way. However, if we get it, if we clinch the AL West, that was part of our goal for this year when we started. We have more goals that we need to get to.”

Luzardo threw six scoreless innings in the 6-0 win over the Giants and Olson had a big fourth inning, first preventing a run with an inning-ending throw, then driving in Oakland’s first score.

Olson’s two-out RBI hit came after Mark Canha was hit by a pitch and then alertly scrambled to second on a pitch in the dirt. Olson followed with a single to center.

That was it against San Francisco starter Kevin Gausman, but once the Giants’ bullpen got in the game, the A’s put up five runs, including a two-run homer from Jake Lamb, who has hit in all five of the game in which he’s played since being signed as a free agent last weekend.

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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