Not that manager Bob Melvin would dare utter the words publicly at least not until his A's clinch a playoff spot. But the words certainly have been used behind closed doors where the team's decision-makers are mapping it all out.

"Playoff rotation."

For a team with a magic number of six and 10 games to play it's not premature to discuss how the pitching would be aligned in the first round of the playoffs presumably in a rematch with Detroit. A's management probably has an idea in place including a spot for A.J. Griffin.

Griffin put the A's in position to win Wednesday afternoon but a rare blown save opportunity by Grant Balfour sent the game into extra innings where the Angels won 5-4 in the 11th on Josh Hamilton's sacrifice fly off Jerry Blevins.

Oakland's lead in the AL West slipped to six over Texas which was scheduled for a night game in St. Petersburg Fla.

Griffin allowed two runs in six innings and was in line for his 15th victory until Balfour surrendered a game-tying homer to Hamilton in the ninth. Griffin gave up a first-inning home run to Mike Trout who homered in each game of the series but retired 17 of his next 18 batters.

Dan Otero pitched two innings before giving way to Balfour. Jesse Chavez pitched the 10th and began the 11th when J.B. Shuck doubled advanced to third when third baseman Josh Donaldson fumbled Erick Aybar's bunt and scored on Hamilton's fly to left. Hamilton entered the plate appearance 1-for-11 with seven strikeouts off Blevins.

Each of the five starters has two games remaining beginning with Dan Straily - perhaps a longshot for the playoff rotation - in Thursday's opener against the Twins. He's followed by Bartolo Colon Jarrod Parker Sonny Gray and Griffin who's targeted to pitch the regular-season finale on Sept. 29.