"Ever since Day 1 I've been here, it's been, the A's can't compete with the payroll, can't compete with this team or that team," Norris said. "We're better off if we're down. It just gives us the extra energy. I hope they keep doing it."
The A's join the NL West champion San Francisco Giants as division champions. The Bay Area is already buzzing about a possible Bay Bridge World Series like the 1989 championship swept by Oakland, one interrupted by an earthquake.
Hamilton's miscue while charging forward might haunt the to-be free agent if his Rangers don't get past their wild-card game.
"I just missed it, man," Hamilton said. "If it moves, you can make adjustments if you break down. When you're running, you can't make the adjustments."
These are the same Rangers who twice came within one strike of the franchise's first World Series championship before losing Games 6 and 7 to the wild-card St. Louis Cardinals. It was Texas' second near miss in as many years after losing the 2010 World Series to the Giants.
Yoenis Cespedes punched his bat, apparently thinking he had recorded the last out before the ball glanced off Hamilton's glove. Manager Ron Washington stood with a stunned look in the dugout, then had an animated chat with Hamilton once the inning ended.
Murphy's two-run single highlighted a five-run third inning that put Texas in prime position.
Moss drew a leadoff walk from starter Ryan Dempster and Josh Reddick followed with an RBI double. Josh Donaldson singled and Seth Smith's base hit made it 5-3 and chased Dempster with none out and runners on first and second.
Washington turned to the lefty Holland, a starter who was tagged for four runs in the first inning of the second game of Sunday's doubleheader with the Angels before working into the seventh.
He retired the first two batters before Crisp's double down the right-field line. The A's batted around in the inning after Texas sent 10 to the plate in the third. And the A's kept adding on until the end.
The only other teams to come back from at least 13 games down to win the division were the 1914 Boston Braves, the 1951 New York Giants, the '78 Yankees and the '95 Seattle Mariners.
"Anything can happen in the long season," said Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, who will start the wild-card game. "That's why we play 162 games. We're going to forget about this and get ready for the next one."
Oakland accomplished all this with an ever-changing roster managed by Bob Melvin in his first full season as A's skipper. They lost third baseman Scott Sizemore on the first full day of spring training workouts, never promoted slugger Manny Ramirez from the minors before parting ways, and dealt with devastating injuries all year long.
Opening day starter Brandon McCarthy took a line drive to the head Sept. 5 that required surgery and ended his season, Brett Anderson missed most of the year coming off Tommy John surgery, and Dallas Braden never pitched because of shoulder problems. Starter Bartolo Colon received a 50-game suspension in August for a positive testosterone test.
Third baseman Inge needed shoulder surgery last month and prized Cuban rookie Cespedes missed time with a pair of injuries in May and June.
And that's just the beginning for a team that traded away catcher Kurt Suzuki to the Nationals during the year after swapping three top pitchers during the offseason — Trevor Cahill to Arizona, NL Cy Young Award favorite and 21-game winner Gio Gonzalez to Washington and All-Star closer Andrew Bailey to Boston.
"There hasn't been a lot of luck involved," Beane said. "The one thing about baseball, when you play 161 games, you don't get lucky this late in the season. And, quite frankly, if you were to look into individual things and events that happened, starting with the first day of full workouts we lost our everyday third baseman. We had to figure out what we wanted to do. We haven't had a lot of good luck. There have been a lot of adjustments on the fly from that first full-squad workout when Sizemore went down."