A’s win in walkoff fashion, pad AL Wild Card buffer

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The A’s went down 4-0 when the Mariners’ Michael Saunders launched a two-run homer to right field in the fourth inning on Saturday at O.co Coliseum. But the rest of the afternoon belonged to Oakland.

Brandon Moss hit an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth, an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth and a walkoff three-run blast in the bottom of the 10th as the A’s continued their wild 2012 campaign with a 7-4 come-from-behind win over the visiting Mariners.

The A’s are now 90-68, ranking second in the American League Wild Card standings. The Orioles, who just got underway against the Red Sox, hold the first Wild Card spot with a record of 90-67. Anaheim (currently 87-70 and in a rain delay in Texas) sits third.

It was the 14th walkoff victory of the season for the Athletics. The magicial ride continues.

Justin Verlander named ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.