With Monday’s series opener, the Texas Rangers seemingly were playing Oakland at the right time. The Athletics had limped home from a 3-7 trip during which they lost 4 1/2 games to the American League West-leading Rangers.

Instead, the Athletics bounced back with a 5-1 victory. For the Athletics, this series is more about getting the ship righted rather than making a statement to the Rangers.

“We have to find our identity, and this was a good start on that,” said left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle, who struck out the side on 12 pitches in the eighth inning. “We’re more focused on getting back to playing our brand of baseball than thinking about the AL West. We had to bounce back from that trip.”

Oakland is playing well within the division. The Athletics are 15-5 against the West and 5-15 against all other clubs.

“Any time you’re playing the Rangers, or any other club in the West, it’s a bigger game,” Doolittle said. “You step it up a little. It was a little more intense out there.”