The A's were eliminated from postseason contention with an 8-1 loss to the AL West-leading Texas Rangers.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin said his focus remains on finishing strong and pointing toward next season, and his players agree.
"We're here playing to get into the playoffs and win a World Series, so it's a learning experience," said Eric Sogard, whose ninth-inning homer accounted for his team's lone run. "Anything we can get from here on out we can take into next year and hopefully get into the playoffs."
Player evaluation has been the A's focus for quite a while, and that will continue over the last 16 games. But the A's also have games left against playoff contenders, and Melvin knows he must strike a balance.
"You want to evaluate talent going forward, but you've got to put forth your best lineup and continue to play your veterans," he said. "Pretty much everybody we play is a contender - the Rangers, Angels and Tigers."
The A's managed only five singles in eight innings against C.J. Wilson (16-6). The left-hander struck out 11 and walked one, following up on his first career shutout - an 8-0 win at Tampa Bay last Tuesday.
Adrian Beltre homered twice for Texas to reach 301 for his career. Beltre has seven homers in his last eight games against Oakland and 15 RBIs against the A's this season.
Josh Outman (3-5) got a spot start for Oakland, replacing Rich Harden, whose turn in the rotation was pushed back to give him extra rest. Outman allowed four runs and eight hits over 4 2-3 innings.
Outman, whose previous three appearances came in relief, was making his ninth start of the season, first since July 2.
The Rangers broke up a scoreless game in the fifth when Craig Gentry led off with his first career triple and Ian Kinsler drove him in with a single.
Kinsler advanced to second on his 23rd straight stolen base, tying his club record, moved to third on a groundout and scored on Josh Hamilton's sacrifice fly.
Michael Young reached on an infield single and Beltre followed with a two-run homer to left field. Beltre also doubled in the second to extend his hitting streak to 16 games.
"It's always a good-hitting lineup, especially in this park, no matter what nine they throw out there," Outman said. "I battled through the first four innings, then in the fifth I was a little leg-weary. I felt like every mistake I made, they capitalized on."
Beltre led off the seventh against Andrew Carignan with his 23rd homer for his 22nd career multihomer game.