OAKLAND — Sean Doolittle allowed a three-run homer to J.P. Arencibia during a six-run ninth inning, and the Oakland Athletics lost 6-1 to the last-place Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.
It was the fourth blown save in 25 chances for Doolittle (1-4) this season.
The bearded closer's meltdown on the mound negated a stellar start by Jeff Samardzija and ended Oakland's two-year reign as AL West champions. The Los Angeles Angels clinched the division with a 5-0 win over Seattle and the loss by the A's.
Oakland dropped into a tie with Kansas City for the AL's top wild card. Seattle is two games behind the A's and Royals for the second and final berth.
Sam Fuld's single in the fifth drove in Oakland's only run. Robbie Ross (3-6) got the final five outs for the win.
Samardzija outpitched Derek Holland to put the A's in position to win. Samardzija struck out 10 and allowed just four hits in eight innings.
The hard-throwing righty has a 16-inning scoreless streak, the longest of his career. As well as he pitched, though, it wasn't enough for the A's to overcome another underwhelming performance at the plate.
Oakland left 10 runners on base. That included loading the bases with no outs in the eighth only to come up empty.
Elvis Andrus singled and scored on Rougned Odor's double to start the Rangers' rally in the ninth. After Adrian Beltre was intentionally walked, Arencibia's 10th home run silenced the crowd of 17,530 at the Coliseum.
Doolittle was charged with five of the six runs.
Holland continued his remarkable return for the Rangers after missing five months following offseason knee surgery. He gave up one run, four hits and three walks in 6 1-3 innings.
In four starts this season, Holland has allowed just three runs. But his latest outing wasn't enough to outlast Samardzija, who provided a much-needed performance on the mound after Oakland's sloppy 6-3 loss to Texas on Tuesday night.
Samardzija stranded a runner on second in the first, third and fifth. He worked fast and looked in command from start to finish, even enduring a brief delay for an umpire change.
Plate umpire Kerwin Danley took a foul tip from Nick Punto off his facemask in the fifth. Danley was replaced by second base umpire Mark Ripperger to start the sixth.
Samardzija has allowed no runs in five of his starts with the Cubs and A's this season. He hasn't won any of them.
Rangers: OF Shin-Soo Choo, already out for the season with an elbow injury, had surgery on his left ankle to remove torn cartilage and a small bone spur. He is in a walking boot and should start a running program in six to eight weeks.
Athletics: C Stephen Vogt (sprained left ankle) was intentionally walked as a pinch hitter in the eighth. He hadn't played since Sept. 3.
Rangers: RHP Nick Martinez (3-11, 4.93 ERA) starts Thursday's series finale. He's 2-5 with a 4.72 ERA in his last 10 starts.
Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (13-8, 3.18) takes the mound for Oakland. He has allowed four earned runs in 15 innings over his last two starts.