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TEX@OAK: Parker fans four, holds Rangers to two runs

After waiting until the final day of the regular season in 2012 to capture the American League West, the A's will have a chance Saturday to put their second consecutive division crown on ice with more than a week to spare.

With their magic number to clinch the division at two, the A's will first have to take care of business against the Twins before pulling for a Royals victory over Texas in a game that begins three hours after first pitch at O.co Coliseum.

If the Rangers should win, the A's can also secure a Wild Card berth if they beat Minnesota and the Indians lose to the Astros in a 6:05 p.m. ET start.

Of course, in both scenarios, each potential celebration for Oakland begins with a win.

To accomplish their end of the deal, the A's will send Jarrod Parker to the mound Saturday afternoon. The right-hander is coming off his first loss since May 22 after the Angels pounded him for eight runs -- seven earned -- on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings his last time out.

Parker said an illness, which had him vomiting just a day prior to the outing, was not responsible for his performance.

"Pretty terrible, I think," Parker said after the game, assessing his performance. "Take nothing away from them, they swung the bats well, but there weren't too many pitches that I executed."

Parker faced the Twins earlier this month as well, holding Minnesota to two runs on seven hits over six innings.

Hoping to delay Oakland's party will be Pedro Hernandez, who is coming off a solid outing against the Rays, surrendering just three earned runs on four hits over five innings. All three runs, however, came via the home run.

"It was two mistakes," Hernandez said afterward.

Athletics: Freiman still nursing abdominal strain
Unable to play since Monday, A's first baseman Nate Freiman is nursing an abdominal strain and there's no timetable for his return.

"He's had an abdomen/oblique thing he's been dealing with for about a week and a half, and that's why he's not in there today," A's manager Bob Melvin explained Friday. "He would've been in there maybe today or tomorrow, but we're not able to get him in there. He hasn't taken batting practice for a few days because of that. We're not sure when we'll get him back."

Freiman sustained the injury while taking swings in the indoor cages

Twins: Plouffe sidelined with wrist discomfort amid hot streak
The same soreness in Trevor Plouffe's left wrist that resulted in his removal from the eighth inning of Thursday's series opener against the A's kept him out of Friday's starting lineup.

The infielder has recorded eight multi-hit games in his last 17 starts and is batting .300 with 12 extra-base hits in 31 games since Aug. 18.

Plouffe said he took 30-40 swings in the batting cage -- his normal number -- and participated in batting practice prior to Friday's game. He said he feels fine.

"I'll just trust him," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "If he tells me he can go up and hit and he takes a few swings out there and everything seems OK, then we'll go from there."

Worth noting
• A's starting pitchers have allowed two runs or fewer in 11 of the last 13 games.

• Josh Donaldson contributed his 54th multi-hit game of the season on Friday night, which is fourth most in Oakland history. The record is 57, set by Miguel Tejada in 2002 and duplicated by Mark Kotsay in 2004.

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