Joe Saunders likely nailed down the fourth spot in the Halos' playoff rotation, going six solid innings. Four singles - only one hit with authority - and a walk chased him in the seventh, but all in all, it was a decent outing for the Colonel.
Kendry Morales hit the 100 RBI milestone with an RBI single in the first inning, and then tacked on 2 more with a monster blast in the third. He also started a crucial double play with a man in scoring position, helping to bail Saunders out of what could have been a nasty third inning.
Mike Napoli and Maicer Izturis made significant contributions with both the glove and the bat. On a close play at home in the third, Big Mike blocked the plate perfectly to deny an early run to the A's. He added a homerun to lead off the Halos' half of the fourth. Izturis initiated the Halos' second crucial double play of the afternoon, feeding the ball to Aybar quickly enough to get speedster Rajai Davis at first. In the ninth, he mashed a 2-run insurance double that felt like the difference-maker.
The bullpen recorded two holds and a save, with Oliver, Jepsen and Fuentes making things interesting enough to keep fans in their seats and in front of their televisions, while still making Saunder's fine start hold up.
To round out a perfect Sunday afternoon, Joe Maddon's Rays stunned the Texas Rangers with a ninth inning comeback, reducing the Halos' magic number to two. The Rangers come to town tomorrow, so the Halos could be celebrating at home as early as next evening.