ANAHEIM -- Now that the A's have locked up the American League West title and a spot in the playoffs, it's time for them to coast a bit, take it easy for the next week, then gear up for the postseason, right?

Not so much. If there's one thing Monday's 10-5 win over the Angels displayed in graphic color, it was that the A's aren't going to half-step to the finish line.

By winning and the Detroit Tigers losing Monday, the A's magic number for clinching home-field advantage for the American League Division Series shrunk to two, meaning any combination of A's wins and Tigers' losses totaling two sews up home-field advantage for Oakland for the first round of the playoffs.

More than that, the A's (94-63) crept to within one game of the Red Sox (95-62) for the best record in the American League. Catching Boston would mean the A's would have the home-field advantage throughout.

"Nobody in this clubhouse is having strategy sessions about it," the A's Jed Lowrie said.

Lowrie's three-run homer in the third helped break the game open, the A's lead going from 2-1 to 5-1. "We'll go out and do what we do, and wherever that puts us, that's where we should be."

Manager Bob Melvin could have rested most of his regulars after Sunday's clinching celebration and subsequent flight to Southern California. But only Yoenis Cespedes got the day off, and that was only after a long throwing session to test his hobbled shoulder. The appendage apparently held up, so he will be back in the lineup Tuesday as the D.H. and could play three games in left field in Seattle this weekend.


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Melvin also gave his starting pitchers a rest by having Tommy Milone make the start two days after pitching in relief.

Milone, pitching for a spot on the postseason roster, is 2-0 in two September starts and has a 2.70 ERA for the month.

In addition to earning home-field advantage, if the A's catch the Red Sox, they would play the wild-card entry, which at this point looks like Cleveland or Tampa Bay, rather than Detroit, the team that knocked Oakland out of the playoffs in the first round last year.

None of which seems to matter to Melvin.

"It's important, but it's not foremost in our minds," the manager said. "Our concern is to win as many as we can."

Along the way, the A's have questions to answer.

  • Will Cespedes' sore shoulder allow him to play in the field?

  • Will Nate Freiman recover from the abdominal pain that has sidelined him for a week and make the postseason roster or will the A's carry three catchers and use Derek Norris as their right-handed hitting first baseman?

    Norris worked out there Monday but hasn't played the position this season.

  • Will the A's go with four starting pitchers or three when the playoffs roll around?

    Melvin isn't talking, but it seems likely that Jarrod Parker, Bartolo Colon and A.J. Griffin will all start, but it's less clear if the club will go with a fourth starter. And if they do, will they take the kid with all the electricity in his right arm, Sonny Gray (4-3, 2.90), or Dan Straily who is only 4-0 with a 2.15 ERA in his past five starts?

  • Can they continue their power surge?

    With homers by Lowrie and Brandon Moss on Monday, the A's have hit at least two homers in six consecutive games, matching the Oakland club record.

  • Josh Donaldson had two singles, giving him 56 multiple-hit games, one shy of the A's club record co-held by Miguel Tejada (2002) and Mark Kotsay (2004).

    He's been on base with a hit or a walk in 28 consecutive games, the best mark for an A's hitter in the past five years. During that time he's hitting .379 with 20 RBIs and six homers.

  • Moss, who hit his team-best 28th homer, made just his second start of the month at first base. With Josh Reddick and Cespedes both likely to play in the outfield, the A's will need Moss either at first base or at D.H. in the postseason, depending on how much time another left-handed first baseman, Daric Barton, gets.

  • Every A's starter had at least one hit, the third time in the past 13 games that's happened.

    For more on the A's, see John Hickey's Insider at blogs.ibabuzz.com/athletics. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JHickey3.