Team president Nolan Ryan didn't make it to Oakland Saturday. He had several flights planned but with the uncertainty of when the team would clinch, opted to watch the game in Texas with his family.
He was still excited.
"I'm very proud of the team," Ryan said. "They put a lot of work in and it was total team effort starting in the offseason and spring training and right on through to now. They deserve it. I'm proud of the whole organization. It's been 11 years and we had hoped to get back to winning baseball and we have. Now we hope we can keep the level of standards on winning and grow from there."
Frank Francisco was not shut down Saturday. The right-hander threw briefly in the bullpen Saturday, and is scheduled to have a more extensive throwing session Sunday. Francisco has been on the disabled list since Aug. 28 with a strain on his right side.
Josh Hamilton is trying to switch things up, giving up icing his ribs in favor of heat. It worked yesterday as there were no spasms for Hamilton. He worked on twisting more today.
Jorge Cantu is playing at first again today, and is has as much to do with his defense as his lack of production at the plate. Manager Ron Washington said Cantu's defense Friday was crucial in the 10-3 victory.
If and when the Rangers clinch, Washington hasn't decided how he will rest his starters but that is the plan. That could include extra rest for starting pitchers Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson too.
Derek Holland will have a chance to pitch the Rangers into the playoffs Saturday. If he does, he'll be beating an Oakland team that is 34-18 in day games. That's tied with Oakland for the best day mark in the majors.
Oakland Saturday starter Gio Gonzalez is 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in seven career games against the Rangers, including 2-1 with a 2.74 ERA this year.
Holland is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA against Oakland.
As for the Friday postgame notes. ...
Tommy Hunter is now 4-0 in his career against Oakland.
Clay Rapada hasn't allowed a run or hit in his nine appearances with Texas. That's the most hitless relief outings to start a season since Billy Wagner started 2008 with nine.
Ian Kinsler snapped an 0 for 11 streak with his fourth-inning double.
Vladimir Guerrero's homer in the second snapped an 0 for 10 drought.
OAKLAND, Calif. - A dormant Texas offense came to life Friday night as the Rangers pounded Oakland 10-3 to put them on the brink of their first playoff berth in 11 years.
The Rangers dropped their magic number to two with the victory, and can clinch the American League West title today with a win over the Athletics.
If the offense continues to hit like it did Friday, they certainly have a chance. The Rangers came into the game having scored just two unearned runs in the last 31 innings, but pounded out 18 hits against Oakland.
The Rangers made sure the hits were timely too. Texas broke open a 2-1 game with five runs in the seventh inning. Jeff Francoeur got the inning started right with his first homer as a Ranger, and Vladimir Guerrero capped the scoring with a three-run double.
After Oakland made it a 7-2 game with a run in the seventh, the Rangers tacked on three more runs in the eighth on RBI hits from Bengie Molina, Julio Borbon and Michael Young.
Guerrero got the Rangers going with a leadoff homer in the second inning. It was the first run the Rangers had scored in the series. Francoeur made it 2-0 with a single in the fourth inning.
Right-hander Tommy Hunter kept Oakland at bay until the Rangers offense got going. Hunter (13-4) allowed six hits and one run in 5 1/3 innings to pick up his first victory since Sept. 1.
Francoeur and Guerrero each had three hits for the Rangers, and 10 players had at least one.
The latissimus dorsi muscle on Josh Hamilton's left side continues to give him problems. He said it started spasming last night and stayed locked up for about nine hours. Hamilton did some running today, up to 75 percent effort, and said the his fractured ribs felt OK. There is some pain with when he breathes heavily, but he found that he can alleviate that by putting his arms above his head after he finished running.
Frank Francisco made some 40 throws today, including five at 170 feet, as he continues to build arm strength. He believes he can be throwing off the mound by early next week and believes he will be back before the Rangers' season ends.
Cliff Lee said his ear is fine after a sizable piece of Jack Cust's broken back hit Lee in the four inning. "It's not an issue." The frequency with which maple bats break is an issue, especially after Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin was impaled by a chunk of bat over the weekend.
Oakland Coliseum was a busy place this afternoon as the Rangers took early batting practice. Not all of them participated, but the majority did as they try to break out of a funk that has seen them go three straight games without an earned run. "It's not just one guy," manager Ron Washington said. "It's running up and down the lineup."
Rangers lineup vs. LHP Bobby Cramer: Elvis Andrus, ss; Michael Young, 3b; Nelson Cruz, lf; Vladimir Guerrero, dh; Ian Kinsler, 2b; Jeff Francoeur, rf; Jorge Cantu, 1b; Bengie Molina, c; Julio Borbon, cf.
A's lineup vs. RHP Tommy Hunter: Mark Ellis, 2b; Daric Barton, 1b; Kurt Suzuki, c; Jack Cust, dh; Gabe Gross, cf; Chris Carter, lf; Aki Iwamura, 3b; Jeremy Hermida, rf; Cliff Pennington, ss.