OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Khris Davis is right on the cusp of a third straight 40-homer season and just reached 100 RBIs for the third time in as many years with the Athletics, and he is still aiming for far more.
The playoffs are the primary focus as he clears the fences at a remarkable rate.
Davis homered for the second straight night to back Brett Anderson’s gem, and Oakland blanked the Texas Rangers again 6-0 Tuesday night.
Davis hit a two-run shot in the seventh for No. 38 of 2018, his fourth home run in three games and ninth in 15.
“I’m just trying to do my job and do what I do,” the soft-spoken Davis said. “I’m just glad I show up. I’ve just got to continue working hard and helping this team win ballgames. That’s probably my main focus just getting to the playoffs.”
Anderson (3-3) struck out six and walked one over seven impressive innings, his seventh straight start with one walk or fewer. He earned his first victory in five starts since beating the Rangers on July 23, coming off three straight no-decisions.
He didn’t allow a hit until Shin-Soo Choo’s leadoff double in the fourth — the only hit the lefty surrendered — but the Rangers couldn’t capitalize. A’s relievers Jeurys Familia and Lou Trivino each pitched an inning to finish the two-hitter in 2 hours, 26 minutes, Oakland’s second straight shutout and 12th in all.
Davis, Jed Lowrie and Nick Martini each hit RBI singles among their two hits for the A’s, while Josh Phegley drove in a run on a groundout. Stephen Piscotty had a pair of singles.
Lowrie put Oakland on the board with his first-inning single.
These upstart, surprising young A’s won for the eighth time in 10 games and are showing no signs of letting the Astros out of their sights as September nears. A 9-0 win Monday night moved the A’s into a first-place tie with reigning World Series champion Houston atop the AL West.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin certainly thinks Davis is deserving to start getting mentioned in all the MVP talk.
Fans are chanting “M-V-P!”
“Why wouldn’t you?” Melvin quipped. “I’m hearing some talk on some of the broadcasts, national broadcasts, his name’s not even brought up. How can you not? What is he second in the league in RBIs, second in homers? It’s ridiculous that he’s not part of the conversation.”
“I think just as remarkable is the number of RBIs in not even the later part of really August yet,” Melvin added.
Davis, now with 102 RBIs, appreciates the thought but it’s not something he worries about.
“Obviously we’ve got to continue to look at how we pitch him and the mistakes that we make,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “He hasn’t just hit mistakes.”
Rangers rookie right-hander Ariel Jurado (2-3) gave up four runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings in his sixth career start and is winless in his last three outings.
Adrian Beltre returned to the Rangers’ lineup at designated hitter and went 0 for 3 after missing two games nursing a tender left hamstring that he re-injured last Monday against the Diamondbacks.
Texas, shut out for the eighth time, has managed only five total hits in the first two games of the series. The Rangers lost their sixth straight to the A’s for their longest skid in the rivalry since dropping seven in a row from Aug. 25-Sept. 28 last year.
Oakland is 13-4 in August and 21-8 since the All-Star break.
A day after Davis had 10-year-old Anthony Slocumb sign his jersey and then hit a monster home run, the A’s slugger gifted the jersey to the Oakland sixth-grader while also deciding to auction another uniform to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation — the group Slocumb attended with Monday.
“It was such a perfect day/night,” Slocumb’s mother, Natalie Sanchez, said in an email. “We are so humbled and grateful for everything. Anthony is gleaming with excitement still.”
Rangers: LHP Mike Minor, scratched from his scheduled start last Friday against the Angels with back stiffness and now set to pitch Wednesday afternoon’s series finale, isn’t expected to have lingering issues over the long haul with his back, according to Banister.
Athletics: OF Matt Joyce, sidelined by a strained lower back, went 0 for 3 playing left field while beginning a rehab appearance for Triple-A Nashville. Melvin said he would then be off for a day then play designated hitter. The hope is Joyce would be available to rejoin the A’s around Sept. 1 as the minor league season nears the end.
Minor (9-6, 4.61 ERA) is riding a three-start winning streak for his longest such stretch since Sept. 16, 2012, to April 10, ’13, with Atlanta. The A’s counter with righty Edwin Jackson (4-2, 2.58) is 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA over his last four starts — his longest winning streak since June 30-July 11, 2013, when he also won three straight decisions.