- Associated Press - Sunday, September 28, 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Oakland Athletics finally clinched their third consecutive playoff berth — on the last day of the regular season after a prolonged slump.

Sonny Gray threw a six-hitter to win for the first time in five September starts, Josh Reddick had an RBI triple and Oakland beat the Texas Rangers 4-0 Sunday to clinch the American League’s second wild card.

The A’s lost 30 of their previous 45 games before winning game No. 162. They play the win-or-go-home wild-card game Tuesday night at Kansas City, which won five of the seven games in the season series against Oakland (88-74).

After winning the AL West title the past two seasons, Oakland went into its game Aug. 10 with a 72-44 record that was the best in the majors. That was good for a four-game lead in the AL West and an 11-game edge in the wild-card standings.

Adam Dunn, acquired by the A’s on Aug. 31, is going to the playoffs for the first time after playing his 2,001st career game — the most by any active player before getting to the postseason.

The 34-year-old Dunn is in his 14th season and has said he plans to retire after this season when his contract is set to expire. He waived his no-trade clause for the Chicago White Sox to complete the deal, and previously played for Cincinnati, Arizona and Washington.

Gray (14-10) was 12-3 at the end of July, but was 1-7 in his 11 previous starts before Sunday. The right-hander struck out five with no walks in his second career complete-game shutout, both this season against Texas.

Nick Martinez (5-12) finished his rookie season allowing two runs and four hits over 5 2-3 innings. He struck out two without a walk.

Brandon Moss led off the Oakland second with a double to center, and Reddick followed with a triple over the head of center fielder Leonys Martin. Reddick scored on Stephen Vogt’s bloop single to make it 2-0.

Texas had two runners on with no outs in the fifth after Tomas Telis doubled and Ryan Rua got an infield single on a ball that ricocheted off Gray’s left foot. Trainers checked on Gray, who then got out of the inning by striking out Luis Sardinas before Adam Rosales grounded into a double play.

Oakland lost five of seven down the stretch to the Rangers, who finished 67-95 overall for their most losses since 99 in 1985. But they were 14-8 under interim manager Tim Bogar after Ron Washington resigned Sept. 5 for personal reasons.


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