Oakland opened a four-game series it was supposed to be dreading Monday night with an 8-6 victory over American League Central-leading Detroit. The A's are 2-2 on a road trip against playoff contenders Baltimore and Detroit, teams that are a combined 35 games over .500.
That put the pressure on the Rangers to hold serve on the West Coast on Monday night and Texas produced an 8-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners to keep its 2 1/2 game lead in the AL West.
The Rangers are 2-2 on a road trip against the Chicago White Sox and Seattle, teams that start Tuesday a combined 34 games below .500.
So far it's a push and advantage Oakland.
Here's the catch: Both the Rangers and the A's are good enough to beat any team on their schedule.
That explains Oakland beginning its series against Detroit in winning fashion. It explains how the Rangers were able to survive a treacherous stretch in June against the Oakland A's, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds by winning each series.
Yes, by all means beat up on the bottom dwellers. But wins against the top teams count the same, and in the end do more damage in a division race.
ON DECK: The Rangers send left-hander Derek Holland (9-6, 2.95) to the mound against Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6, 2.98) at 9:10 p.m. Tuesday night on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Did Blackley earn another start Sunday night against the Minnesota Twins?