Adrenaline spiking. Blood pumping. Guts required.

Yes it's September baseball in the best division race in the majors.

On Monday the A's welcomed back the Rangers for the first of six remaining games between the teams. Unfortunately this race won't go down to a head-to-head match between the two teams the way it did last year in the Josh Hamilton-drops-the-ball game. But expect both teams to compete with everything they have for the next 25 games.

"I expect it to go all the way down to the end" manager Ron Washington said before Monday's game. "They're the division champs over there. I don't expect them to go away and I certainly don't expect us to go away.

"Everything goes through Oakland."

And he was right at least for Monday. After closer Grant Balfour navigated a tricky ninth inning the A's had a 4-2 win tying Texas atop the AL West.

"I was just trying to pitch with some guts" said Balfour who was in a two-on none-out jam. "I was running on fumes. I didn't have a good fastball today and they could see that."

Almost to a man A's players talked about the intensity of the game. The extra adrenaline they had.

"It's a back and forth that kind of pumps your blood a little bit" said Coco Crisp whose two-run homer was the difference in the game.

Starter Dan Straily who pitched five innings knew he had a big assignment.