OAKLAND, Calif. -- The best way for the Texas Rangers to ensure that they will win a second straight American League West title is to just win, baby.
They've been doing that better than 27 other major-league teams this month while in the midst of a tight playoff race.
So, a 4-3 loss to Oakland on Thursday, in the House that Al Davis built and renovated for the NFL's Raiders, is hardly a huge disappointment. But it does rate as mildly annoying.
The Rangers want to get the division clinched as soon as possible, but the A's rallied from a 3-1 sixth-inning deficit to avoid a three-game sweep and keep the Rangers from shrinking their magic number.
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Not all was lost, though. Toronto beat Los Angeles 4-3 in 12 innings while the Rangers were flying back to Texas, and their magic number to win the West is 2. The Rangers, whose AL West lead held at five games with six to go, can clinch the title tonight.
The sooner the better.
"We'd like to do it as soon as possible," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "Hopefully, that comes at home. We need to win every game, and can't really worry about what the team behind us is doing. As long as we keep winning, sooner or later we're going to get it down to zero."
The Rangers open a three-game series tonight against the Mariners, who will pitch rookies in the first and third games but reigning AL Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez on Saturday.
Manager Ron Washington said that the Rangers don't want their season-ending series, three games at Angel Stadium, to have any bearing on the West race.
"We've just got to keep playing and keep winning series, and pretty soon it will happen," Washington said. "As soon as you can win the games you have to win to wrap this thing up, you want to do it. If we've got to go into Anaheim and play to win, we'll go into Anaheim and play to win."
Coco Crisp singled home Jemile Weeks in the eighth inning as the A's scored single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Weeks had doubled with one out in the eighth against Mike Adams (1-3), and Crisp followed with a line drive to right field. The speedy Weeks, a pest all day, scored easily.
Both starters, Colby Lewis and Trevor Cahill, allowed three runs while pitching into the seventh inning. Each pitcher also was victimized by balls that were lost in the sun.
Lewis allowed only four hits in 6 1/3 innings. One of them was the first major-league homer by Weeks, who went 3 for 3 with a first-inning walk that turned into a run.
Weeks' run in the first was quickly answered by two runs in the Rangers' second. Adrian Beltre doubled in Michael Young, who had led off with a single, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Nelson Cruz.
Josh Hamilton's sun-aided double in the sixth turned into a 3-1 Rangers lead when he scored on a two-out single by David Murphy.
Weeks countered with a solo shot into the right-field seats in the A's sixth. In the seventh, Lewis walked David DeJesus with one out, and Cliff Pennington followed with a fly ball to center field that Craig Gentry lost in the sun for a double.
Pinch hitter Scott Sizemore tied the game at 3-3 with a groundout against Darren Oliver.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760