Back in April the Rays crushed the A's in three straight games outscoring Oakland 17-4 in the process. Cut to four months later: And it's the A's taking three in a row to split the season series which could prove important a month from now.

The A's topped Tampa Bay 5-1 and moved one game behind Texas in the AL West and 2 1/2 games ahead of the Rays in the race for the American League's top wild-card spot. The Rangers come into Oakland for a three-game series that starts with a Labor Day afternoon game.

"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" A's third baseman Josh Donaldson said.

"Texas probably brings it to another level based on the rivalry we have going with them from last year" A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They're a game up on us right now. That's the one that probably piques more people's interest."

The Tampa Bay series could have postseason ramifications: Should the A's and Rays tie for the wild-card spots home-field advantage is decided by head-to-head advantage - neither club in this case. The next tie-breaker is intradivision record in which the A's have a better winning percentage by .022.

A.J. Griffin went seven innings and allowed only a solo homer by James Loney in the second inning. Oakland got solo homers from Coco Crisp off Tampa Bay starter Jamey Wright in the first - Crisp's sixth homer in 11 games - and from former Rays catcher Stephen Vogt a drive to right in the seventh off Jake McGee.

Vogt "had a great series for us and he hit a big home run for us" Melvin said. "For a guy who has not played much in the big leagues to be in this position right now playing against his former team he's got to feel pretty good. As do we."

Vogt also took part in the defensive play of the game in the seventh inning helping to keep the Rays from tying the game. With two outs and the A's leading 2-1 Wil Myers doubled to left-center then tried to score on Desmond Jennings' single to left. Donaldson took the throw from Yoenis Céspedes and went home.