Next seven games a huge opportunity for A's
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OAKLAND – The A’s know how to say the right things.

They look at their next seven games against the lowly Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins, and they talk about records meaning nothing and how their work is cut out for them.

But reality is reality. After taking five of six against Tampa Bay and Texas, the A’s are presented with an opportunity to perhaps take control of the American League West over the next week.

They welcome the Astros (46-93) for four games at the Coliseum starting Thursday, then travel to Minnesota for their first three games of the season against the Twins (61-77).

The A’s are tied with Texas atop the American League West after their 11-4 victory over the Rangers on Wednesday. They have a prime opportunity to fatten up in the standings against teams that are a combined 63 games under .500.

Not that you’ll hear any such talk from anyone in an Oakland uniform.

“I know we have Houston coming in next,” third baseman Josh Donaldson said. “The last couple times we’ve played them it’s been a dogfight. They’re playing right now like these games are the playoffs for them. We’ve got a tough task at hand.”

The Rangers’ task is tougher.

They play three in Anaheim against the Angels, who entered Wednesday night 64-73 but had won eight of their previous 10 games. Then Texas hosts N.L. Central-leading Pittsburgh (81-57) for three games.

After that, the A’s visit Rangers Ballpark for a three-game series Sept. 13-15. How each team fares over the next week will dictate how urgent that series in Arlington is for both. Those are the final three games between Oakland and Texas in the regular season, which wraps Sept. 29.

A’s right-hander Jarrod Parker said looking ahead does no good for his team.

“I don’t think we’re going to take anything for granted,” he said. “We know we have to take care of the game at hand and the task at hand. I think we just have to remain in the moment, do what we do and I think if we take care of what we’re doing at the time, we’re gonna have a lot of success.”