The A's got a hold of the top American League Wild Card spot. Now they have their sights set on the AL West crown.
The Rangers are clinging to a one-game lead over the A's in the division. The teams will meet for a three-game set in Oakland beginning Monday.
"Every game has implications now," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It doesn't matter who we're playing. You come down to less than 30 games, each game is as important as the next. Now certainly when you're playing the Rangers, who are ahead of us in the division, you're always looking to hopefully move up and do well within your division.
"To me, it's pretty exhausting to look at all the Wild Card implications right now. I think any team's goal and focus is to win their division so you don't have to deal with that one-game playoff."
The A's swept Texas to close the 2012 regular season. The three wins vaulted Oakland to the division title and forced the Rangers to the Wild Card one-game playoff, which Texas dropped to Baltimore.
This year, the Rangers are 8-5 against the A's.
"Each series is different," said Texas skipper Ron Washington. "We certainly still have to go up there and play our best baseball. If we don't play our best baseball, and they play their best baseball, they could beat us. The only thing we're going to worry about is going up there and making sure we play our game. If we play our game, I'll take it. I don't care who we're playing."
Derek Holland (9-6, 3.00 ERA) will toe the rubber in Oakland for the third time this season. He is 1-0 with a 2.63 ERA against the A's this season and is 7-1 with a 2.85 ERA in 14 road starts.
"It's not going to change. We do have the lead right now. We just have got to keep playing our game," Holland said. "I'm not going to put any pressure on myself or treat the game any different. We've got to take on Oakland for a reason and take some ground, but I've got to do my job and pitch pretty much like I did last time."
Dan Straily (7-7, 4.41 ERA) is slated to take the hill for Oakland.
Rangers: Holland motivated
Holland posted a 1-0 record and 2.18 ERA in five August starts. The southpaw submitted a quality start each time out.
"Consistency is the big thing," Holland said. "I've been able to locate a lot better both with the offspeed and the fastball, and just getting ahead of hitters and attacking has been the big thing."
Last season, Holland logged a 4.67 ERA, and he was saddled with the loss on the final day of the regular season.
"It's been a big year for me," Holland said. "I was motivated by last year. I was disappointed with my end of the year last year, so I want to make sure I needed to do what I should be doing to meet my expectations."
A's: Crisp sizzling
• Coco Crisp batted .304 in 21 games in August and he started September with a leadoff home run on Sunday. The long ball marked his 16th of the season, which ties a career high. He has six home runs in his last 11 games.
• Josh Reddick said he hopes he will be ready to play as soon as he is eligible to return from the disabled list on Sept. 10. Reddick is battling a right wrist injury similar to the one Crisp sustained to his left wrist earlier this season. Reddick and Crisp both received cortisone shots.
"Hopefully they put in mine what they put in Coco's, and I can go out there and do what he's doing," Reddick said.
• Straily is 1-1 with a 5.63 ERA in three outings against Texas this season.
• The A's have not had a month with a losing record since May 2012.