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October 04. 2012 12:55AM

A’s complete miracle comeback; Red Sox season ends in NY, 14-2


Oakland Athletics pitcher Grant Balfour, right, and first baseman Brandon Moss celebrate after they defeated the Texas Rangers to win the American League West Division title on Wednesday in Oakland, Calif. (REUTERS)
Brandon Moss had a pair of doubles and three RBIs and Coco Crisp delivered a two-run double in a six-run fourth inning as the Oakland Athletics completed a stunning title run with a 12-5 win over Texas on Wednesday.

Oakland completed a three-game sweep of visiting Texas to win the American League West on the final day of the season.

Derek Norris homered and drove in two runs and the Athletics capitalized on a huge error by 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton to erase a 5-1 deficit en route to dethroning the two-time division champions.

The Athletics, who trailed the Rangers by 13 games on June 30, will open play in the American League Division Series either Saturday or Sunday. Texas, which had been in first place for 176 straight days before losing Tuesday night, will play in the AL wild card game on Friday.

Evan Scribner (2-0) got the win with three scoreless innings in relief of rookie A.J. Griffin as Oakland received another sensational performance from its bullpen before busting the game open with four runs in the eighth.

Adrian Beltre had three hits and David Murphy added a two-run single for the Rangers, who appeared to seize control with a five-run third inning, knocking out Griffin in the process.

But the resilient Athletics responded with six runs in the fourth - the last coming when Hamilton dropped a routine, two-out fly ball off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes to put Oakland ahead for good at 7-5.

NOTES: The Athletics became the fifth team in history to come back from a deficit of 13 games to win either a pennant or division title. ... Texas starter Ryan Dempster (7-4) was unable to protect a four-run lead and was charged with five runs on six hits in three-plus innings. ... Crisp had been 0-for-8 against Rangers left-hander Derek Holland before delivering his two-run double down the right field line that tied the game at 5-5 in the fourth. ... Hamilton went 1-for-5 and failed to homer, all but wrapping up the Triple Crown for Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera.

Yankees 14, Red Sox 2

NEW YORK — By the time their regular season finale ended, all the tension that clung to the New York Yankees as tightly as the Baltimore Orioles had during the stretch run was gone.

Instead, the Yankees had clinched their 18th American League East division title shortly before punctuating it with a 14-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

The 10-game lead that once was blown no longer mattered, the Orioles’ 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays officially making the Yankees division champs as New York batted in the bottom of the seventh.

Alex Rodriguez stepped out of the batter’s box for a moment as the crowd roared and the Orioles’ score was shown on the scoreboard. The Yankees hugged in the dugout as the crowd chanted “Let’s go, Yankees!” finally knowing they had captured their 12th division title in the last 15 years.

Not that the Yankees weren’t doing their part to clinch the crown, as well as home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs. They hammered their humbled rivals from the second inning on, using the type of home run barrage that propelled them to their early cushion in the East.

Robinson Cano continued his torrid streak, going 4-for-4 with two homers and six RBI, to tie his career high. It was the ninth straight multi-hit game for Cano, who had 24 hits in his last 49 at-bats as the Yankees battled it out for the division.

Curtis Granderson drilled two homers of his own, giving him a career-high 43. The second one also gave the Yankees a franchise record 245 homers, while Derek Jeter capped his throwback season with his 216th hit, which led the major leagues.

Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-7) allowed five runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings, raising his ERA to 8.28 in what is likely to be the pending free agent’s final start with the Red Sox.

As the Yankees celebrated another division title, the Red Sox could only enter an offseason full of uncertainty. Boston finished a disappointing 69-93, its first losing season since 1997.

Manager Bobby Valentine was reflective before the game, widely believed to be his last with Boston.

He acknowledged he didn’t believe his coaches had all been “on the same page” with him this year, as he had said earlier Wednesday in an interview with WEEI in Boston.

He said he felt he had ownership’s backing and the support of general manager Ben Cherington, but had “failed” in his return to the big leagues.

“No, it’s a great life experience,” he said when asked if he had any regrets. “It wasn’t always an enjoyable experience, but one I’ll look back on and learn from.”

NOTES: Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was dropped to sixth in the lineup a night after going 0-for-6 and stranding eight base runners Tuesday night. Nick Swisher batted fifth, behind Cano. ... Cano’s second home run gave him his 10th career multi-homer game. ... Valentine said before the game one of his biggest regrets was making his critical comments about former Red Sox fan favorite Kevin Youkillis nine games into the season, adding he didn’t expect the negative reaction. ... Sox outfielder Daniel Nava will undergo wrist surgery after the season, WEEI.com reported.

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