OAKLAND -- Looking backward or forward is never a priority on Bob Melvin's to-do list.
The A's manager prefers to stay in the present and fervently thrives on such a mindset.
So on Wednesday morning, when asked about the significance of his club's upcoming four-game set in Texas beginning the next day, Melvin didn't shy away from acknowledging the opportunity to gain ground on the Rangers. But he also didn't ignore the task at hand.
"We have to beat these guys first," he said.
Melvin, of course, was referring to a Mariners team that had taken two of the first three contests of the home series. The third, aided by another tremendous effort from right-hander Guillermo Moscoso, went to the A's via a 2-0 win -- marking just the type of victory needed for a dose of momentum.
"There's a theme, obviously, here," Melvin said. "We play these types of games a lot, as does the club on the other side, so looking at it, we knew runs were probably going to be at a premium. You can't say must-win, but this was a game we had to win today."
Moscoso made sure of such a result by offering the A's seven scoreless innings that brought about just two hits with one walk and five strikeouts. In doing so, the right-hander lowered his ERA to 2.16 and has surrendered just one earned run over his last 24 2/3 innings.
How those numbers translate into the rotation puzzle after the All-Star break is unclear. Right-hander Tyson Ross (oblique) is expected to return in some capacity at that time, meaning Moscoso's job could be in jeopardy, not because of performance, but rather the numbers game.
The scenario has yet to enter Moscoso's mind, though. And if it has, he's done a fine job of pretending otherwise, as he's let his arm do the talking.
"I just got to do my best, keep doing my best and try to stay long, deep in the game and give the team a chance to win," he said. "I don't care, any role, if I'm starting, relieving, whatever. I'm just trying to stay here as long as I can."
Moscoso handcuffed the Mariners in convincing fashion, allowing just three batters to reach base and throwing first-pitch strikes to 17 of the 24 hitters he faced.
"He just pitched with his fastball and we weren't squaring it up very well," Seattle's Adam Kennedy said. "He has a little life on it, it's a little harder than what it looks, but we just didn't put a lot of pressure on him."
Run support has come at a premium for Moscoso, who received none in four of his last five starts entering the series finale. But another productive day from Scott Sizemore changed that tune.
The A's third baseman launched a first-pitch homer off Seattle's Jason Vargas in the first to put the A's on top, 1-0, his third long ball of the season. Then it was his RBI single in the fifth that extended Oakland's lead to two.
"I normally don't swing first pitch of the game, I like to track one," Sizemore said. "But for whatever reason when I stepped in the box today I just felt good. I felt like I almost had a tunnel to where my sweet spot was and he happened to put it there and I just connected on it."
Sizemore, acquired in a trade at the end of May, has quietly provided an offensive boost in the No. 2 hole and is hitting .325 with the A's overall, including .409 (9-for-22) over his last six games.
"It's a pretty fulfilling feeling," he said, "but I just got to go out there and do the same thing tomorrow and hopefully be the spark plug tomorrow."
"It's the complementary guys on teams like this that really help you win," Melvin said. "We need contributions throughout our rotation, throughout the bullpen, throughout the lineup, and we can't rely on just a couple guys. We rely on everybody, and that's why guys like Sizemore and Moscoso show up so big."
Righty Joey Devine pitched a perfect eighth before Andrew Bailey recorded his eighth save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
"We're a team, obviously, that's going to play a lot of close games," Bailey said. "That's just the way we're built. Hopefully we start coming out on top like these close games today."
Their first chance to continue that trend comes on Thursday in Texas, where they'll look to narrow in on the .500 mark.
"It would be nice to go in there and win some games and go into the break with a good feeling," Melvin said. "It is a team that's ahead of us. We're not trying to look at the standings too much, but it is a team that was in the World Series last year. If we can't get up to play those games, something's wrong with us."