OAKLAND — The Oakland Athletics hope they are poised for another spectacular September like the one that propelled them to an improbable AL West title over the Texas Rangers on the final day last season.
The Rangers arrive Monday for an important three-game series, clinging to a one-game division lead over Oakland with six meetings left.
Coco Crisp and Stephen Vogt homered, A.J. Griffin struck out seven in seven innings, and Oakland completed a three-game sweep of fellow playoff contender Tampa Bay with a 5-1 victory Sunday.
"This is what we look forward to, a chance to control our own destiny and get where we want to be, and that's to win the division," third baseman Josh Donaldson said.
The A's are on a nice little roll again.
Oakland pulled off a pair of one-run wins before Sunday's result against the Rays, who are right behind Oakland in the AL wild-card race.
"The games were a little more electric, definitely, playing against a good team, a scrappy team like Tampa and being in the situation we're in alongside of them," Crisp said. "They do bring the energy and playing against a team like that the atmosphere it has been a little bit more intense."
After Crisp led off the bottom of the first with a home run, James Loney tied it with his own longball in the top of the second. Griffin (12-9) settled in after that to win his second straight outing following a four-start winless stretch in which he was 0-2.
Griffin allowed one run on five hits and walked one. He yielded his majors-leading 33rd home run, most since current pitching coach Curt Young gave up 38 in 1987.
The defense behind him made some crucial stops.
Wil Myers was thrown out at the plate to end the seventh trying for the tying run on a single by Desmond Jennings.
Griffin was there to congratulate catcher Vogt, who took Donaldson's relay and tagged Myers on his second swipe after the baserunner tried to avoid Vogt and went over the bag. Donaldson said replay showed Vogt tagged him the first time.