Oakland stuns Texas, wins West on final day

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Oakland stuns Texas, wins West on final day

From Comcast SportsNet

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Josh Hamilton made one thing clear: The Texas Rangers will forget their stunning season-ending sweep at Oakland and regroup as an American League wild card.

So much for a third straight AL West crown. Texas needed one win against the upstart Athletics in three games, and didn't get it.

"You guys have a hard time believing we can forget about it and move ahead," Hamilton said. "But that's what we get paid to do. We'll go home, regroup and go figure out what we have to do."

The 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 beat the two-time defending league champion Rangers 12-5 on Wednesday.

Hamilton dropped a fly ball in center field for a two-run error that put the A's (94-68) ahead 7-5 in a six-run fourth inning. The A's only added to Texas' troubles the rest of the way.

"You can have all the experience as you want but when you run into a team that's hot, experience has nothing to do with it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.

Texas (93-69) is headed to the new one-game, wild-card playoff at home against Baltimore on Friday night, with the winner playing the New York Yankees in the division series.

The A's get some time off before opening the division series in their first postseason appearance since 2006, playing Game 1 at Detroit on Saturday.

The Athletics needed a sweep and they delivered to win their first division crown in six years and 15th in all. They overcame a five-game deficit in the final nine days and took sole possession of the West's top spot for the first time this year.

"We knew this is a beast of a team we would have to beat, and to be able to beat them three games in a row and win the division on top of it, really it's a magical type thing," manager Bob Melvin said.

Grant Balfour retired Michael Young on a fly to center for the final out, then raised his arms in the air as the A's streamed out of the dugout and began bouncing up and down in the infield.

"2012 AL WEST CHAMPIONS" flashed on the scoreboard two days after the A's clinched a playoff spot Monday and held a wild dance party in the clubhouse.

"I'm glad there's not one tomorrow or Friday," owner Lew Wolff said. "I can relax and go home. I'm running out of underwear."

Players high-fived fans while taking a victory lap through the rundown Coliseum, where the outfield still has a light patch of grass from football in the venue shared by the NFL's Raiders.

Soon, the celebratory champagne and beer made its way to the field -- and players sprayed it into the stands. The A's returned to the field almost an hour later to greet fans still gathered along the top of the dugout.

Oakland pulled off another remarkable performance in a season defined by thrilling walkoffs, rallies and whipped-cream pie celebrations by a team that was never supposed to be here.

A club that trailed Texas by 13 games on June 30. A club with a 59.5 million payroll, lowest in baseball. General manager Billy Beane found ways to get a blue-collar franchise back to the playoffs for the first time since being swept by Detroit in the 2006 AL championship series.

Coco Crisp hit a tying two-run double in the fourth against Derek Holland (12-7) and Brandon Moss drove in three runs, including a two-run single in the four-run eighth.

Rookie winning pitcher Evan Scribner (2-0) left the mound in the sixth to a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 30,067. He allowed two hits and struck out two in three scoreless innings after replacing struggling starter A.J. Griffin.

Ryan Cook, pitching for a fifth consecutive game, gave up a double to Nelson Cruz before retiring the next three Texas hitters with strikeouts of David Murphy and Mike Napoli. Catcher Derek Norris pumped his right arm as the Coliseum fans jumped to their feet.

Norris then homered leading off the bottom of the eighth for his second RBI. It was his seventh homer and Oakland's majors-leading 112th since the All-Star break.

"Ever since Day 1 I've been here, it's been, the A's can't compete with the payroll, can't compete with this team or that team," Norris said. "We're better off if we're down. It just gives us the extra energy."

The A's join the NL West champion San Francisco Giants as division champions. The Bay Area is already buzzing about a possible Bay Bridge World Series like the 1989 championship swept by Oakland, one interrupted by an earthquake.

Hamilton's miscue while charging forward might haunt the to-be free agent if his Rangers don't get past their wild-card game.

"I just missed it, man," Hamilton said.

Murphy's two-run single highlighted a five-run third inning that put Texas in prime position.

In the fourth, Moss drew a leadoff walk and Josh Reddick followed with an RBI double. Josh Donaldson singled and Seth Smith's base hit made it 5-3 and chased Ryan Dempster with none out and runners on first and second.

Washington turned to the lefty Holland, a starter who was tagged for four runs in the first inning of the second game of Sunday's doubleheader with the Angels before working into the seventh.

He retired the first two batters before Crisp's double down the right-field line.

The only other teams to come back from at least 13 games down to win the division were the 1914 Boston Braves, the 1951 New York Giants, the 78 Yankees and the 95 Seattle Mariners.

"Anything can happen in the long season," said Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, who will start the wild-card game. "That's why we play 162 games. We're going to forget about this and get ready for the next one."

Now, Texas has all the pressure as they try to make another run deep into October.

These are the same Rangers who twice came within one strike of the franchise's first World Series championship before losing Games 6 and 7 to the wild-card St. Louis Cardinals. It was Texas' second near miss in as many years after losing the 2010 World Series to the Giants.

"We have to go win that playoff game," Napoli said. "We didn't come here to lose. They got it done and we didn't, plain and simple. It's going to be a tough road."

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AFC North: Terrelle Pryor says Browns can win out, DeAngelo Williams shuts him down

AFC North: Terrelle Pryor says Browns can win out, DeAngelo Williams shuts him down

BY ERIC GARLAND, CSNMidatlantic.com 

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor’s Week 3 performance, where he racked up 144 receiving yards and one rushing touchdown, might have gotten him a little too excited for the rest of the season. 

Why, you might ask? According to an NFL.com article, he claimed the Browns can win out the rest of the season.

That’s a pretty tough task, and Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams didn’t hesitate to rib Pryor for the claim. 

“Maybe he was talking about Ohio State,” Williams tweeted. 

Ouch, burn. 

Pryor, of course, played quarterback for a dominant Ohio State team before converting to wide receiver in the NFL. During his time as a Buckeye, he lead the team to two Big Ten championships and a Rose Bowl championship in 2010. 

Williams’ tweet is only added insult, as the Browns are currently winless heading into Week 4 and have suffered an array of injuries to key players, including Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown and Corey Coleman.

Pryor’s positivity is certainly the attitude needed to start getting some wins in Cleveland, but Williams certainly isn’t buying it. 

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Fantasy Football: Week 4 position rankings

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USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football: Week 4 position rankings

Week 4 of the fantasy football season is here as are my positional rankings. Check back later in the week for updates as news shifts some players up, down or out.

For those seeking free agent help, check out the Week 4 Waiver Wire column, which includes options for those dealing with running back injuries and bye weeks.

Quarterbacks

1. Philip Rivers, SD
 
2.  Cam Newton, CAR
 
3.  Drew Brees, NO
 
4.  Andrew Luck, IND
 
5.  Matthew Stafford, DET
 
6.  Kirk Cousins, WAS
 
7.  Andy Dalton, CIN
 
8.  Carson Palmer, ARI
 
9.  Blake Bortles, JAC
 
10.  Derek Carr, OAK
 
11.  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
 
12.  Joe Flacco, BAL
 
13.  Matt Ryan, ATL
 
14.  Russell Wilson, SEA
 
15.  Dak Prescott, DAL
 
16.  Trevor Siemian, DEN
 
17.  Eli Manning, NYG
 
18.  Tyrod Taylor, BUF
 
19.  Sam Bradford, MIN
 
20.  Ryan Tannehill, MIA
 
21.  Jameis Winston, TB
 
22.  Jimmy Garoppolo, NE
 
23.  Brian Hoyer, CHI
 
24.  Alex Smith, KC
 
25.  Brock Osweiler, HOU

Running Backs

1.  David Johnson, ARI
 
2.  Le'Veon Bell, PIT
 
3.  Ezekiel Elliott, DAL
 
4.  C.J. Anderson, DEN
 
5.  Melvin Gordon, SD
 
6.  Lamar Miller, HOU
 
7.  LeGarrette Blount, NE
 
8.  Mark Ingram, NO
 
9.  LeSean McCoy, BUF
 
10.  Todd Gurley, LA
 
11.  Carlos Hyde, SF
 
12.  DeMarco Murray, TEN
 
13.  Christine Michael, SEA
 
14.  Jeremy Hill, CIN
 
15.  Frank Gore, IND
 
16.  Spencer Ware, KC
 
17.  Charles Sims, TB
 
18.  Devonta Freeman, ATL
 
19.  Matt Jones, WAS
 
20.  Jordan Howard, CHI
 
21.  Latavius Murray, OAK
 
22.  Isaiah Crowell, CLE
 
23.  Matt Forte, NYJ
 
24.  Theo Riddick, DET
 
25.  Jerick McKinnon, MIN
 
26.  Tevin Coleman, ATL
 
27.  Giovani Bernard, CIN
 
28.  Orleans Darkwa, NYG
 
29.  Dwayne Washington, DET
 
30.  Cameron Artis-Payne, CAR
 
31.  Chris Ivory, JAC
 
32.  Terrance West, BAL
 
33.  T.J. Yeldon, JAC
 
34.  Kenyan Drake, MIA
 
35.  Duke Johnson, CLE
 
36.  Justin Forsett, BAL
 
37.  Matt Asiata, MIN
 
38.  Fozzy Whittaker, CAR
 
39.  DeAngelo Williams, PIT
 
40.  Derrick Henry, TEN
 
41.  Jay Ajayi, MIA
 
42.  Jamaal Charles, KC
 
43.  James White, NE
 
44.  Travaris Cadet, NO
 
45.  Chris Thompson, WAS
 
46.  Alfred Morris, DAL
 
47.  Robert Kelley, WAS
 
48.  Bilal Powell, NYJ
 
49.  Charcandrick West, KC
 
50.  Rashad Jennings, NYG

Wide Receivers

1.  Antonio Brown, PIT
 
2.  A.J. Green, CIN
 
3.  Julio Jones, ATL
 
4.  Odell Beckham Jr., NYG
 
5.  Allen Robinson, JAC
 
6.  DeAndre Hopkins, HOU
 
7.  Marvin Jones, DET
 
8.  Alshon Jeffery, CHI
 
9.  Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
 
10.  Travis Benjamin, SD
 
11.  T.Y. Hilton, IND
 
12.  Amari Cooper, OAK
 
13.  Kelvin Benjamin, CAR
 
14.  Dez Bryant, DAL
 
15.  Brandin Cooks, NO
 
16.  Mike Evans, TB
 
17.  Demaryius Thomas, DEN
 
18.  Jarvis Landry, MIAQ
 
19.  DeSean Jackson, WAS
 
20.  Julian Edelman, NE
 
21.  Stefon Diggs, MIN
 
22.  Doug Baldwin, SEA
 
23.  Emmanuel Sanders, DEN
 
24.  Jeremy Maclin, KC
 
25.  Michael Crabtree, OAK
 
26.  Willie Snead, NO
 
27.  Tyrell Williams, SD
 
28.  Sterling Shepard, NYG
 
29.  Eric Decker, NYJ
 
30.  Brandon Marshall, NYJ
 
31.  Terrelle Pryor, CLE
 
32.  Steve Smith, BAL
 
33.  Devante Parker, MIAQ
 
34.  Will Fuller, HOU
 
35.  Mike Wallace, BAL
 
36.  Michael Floyd, ARI
 
37.  Allen Hurns, JAC
 
38.  Jamison Crowder, WAS
 
39.  Sammy Watkins, BUF
 
40.  Golden Tate, DET
 
41.  Tavon Austin, LA
 
42.  Tajae Sharpe, TEN
 
43.  Tyler Lockett, SEA
 
44.  Cole Beasley, DAL
 
45.  Phillip Dorsett, IND
 
46.  Michael Thomas, NO
 
47.  Torrey Smith, SF
 
48.  Mohamed Sanu, ATL
 
49.  Victor Cruz, NYG
 
50.  Pierre Garcon, WAS

Tight Ends

1.  Greg Olsen, CAR
 
2.  Jordan Reed, WAS
 
3.  Rob Gronkowski, NE
 
4.  Travis Kelce, KC
 
5.  Eric Ebron, DET
 
6.  Kyle Rudolph, MIN
 
7.  Coby Fleener, NO
 
8.  Dennis Pitta, BAL
 
9.  Jason Witten, DAL
 
10.  Zach Miller, CHI
 
11.  Delanie Walker, TEN
 
12.  Dwayne Allen, IND
 
13.  Julius Thomas, JAC
 
14.  Jimmy Graham, SEA
 
15.  Gary Barnidge, CLE
 
16.  Jacob Tamme, ATL
 
17.  Hunter Henry, SD
 
18.  Martellus Bennett, NE
 
19.  Jack Doyle, IND
 
20.  Antonio Gates, SD
 
21.  Charles Clay, BUF
 
22.  Cameron Brate, TB
 
23.  Clive Walford, OAK
 
24.  Tyler Eifert, CIND
 
25.  Jesse James, PIT

Kickers

1.  Stephen Gostkowski, NE
 
2.  Adam Vinatieri, IND
 
3.  Chandler Catanzaro, ARI
 
4.  Justin Tucker, BAL
 
5.  Dan Bailey, DAL
 
6.  Steven Hauschka, SEA
 
7.  Graham Gano, CAR
 
8.  Josh Lambo, SD
 
9.  Brandon McManus, DEN
 
10.  Dustin Hopkins, WAS
 
11.  Matt Prater, DET
 
12.  Will Lutz, NO
 
13.  Chris Boswell, PIT
 
14.  Nick Novak, HOU
 
15.  Josh Brown, NYG
 
16.  Blair Walsh, MIN
 
17.  Matt Bryant, ATL
 
18.  Cairo Santos, KC
 
19.  Mike Nugent, CINQ
 
20.  Sebastian Janikowski, OAK

Defenses

1.  Arizona Cardinals, ARI
 
2.  Denver Broncos, DEN
 
3.  Seattle Seahawks, SEA
 
4.  Houston Texans, HOU
 
5.  New England Patriots, NE
 
6.  Minnesota Vikings, MIN
 
7.  Carolina Panthers, CAR
 
8.  Cincinnati Bengals, CIN
 
9.  New York Jets, NYJ
 
10.  Washington Redskins, WAS
 
11.  Kansas City Chiefs, KC
 
12.  Pittsburgh Steelers, PIT
 
13.  Los Angeles Rams, LA
 
14.  New York Giants, NYG
 
15.  Buffalo Bills, BUF
 
16.  Detroit Lions, DET
 
17.  Baltimore Ravens, BAL
 
18.  Miami Dolphins, MIA
 
19.  Indianapolis Colts, IND
 
20.  Dallas Cowboys, DAL