OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — On a night they both homered — and Ramon Laureano for the first two times in his career — the rookie learned far more about teammate Khris Davis than just his ability to clear fences.
Davis’ heart shined through as far as that 438-foot home run he hit sandwiched between Laureano’s two longballs.
Davis hit a towering drive after letting a young fan from the Make-A-Wish Foundation sign his jersey, Laureano drove in five runs on his two shots, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 9-0 on Monday night.
“Wow, he’s awesome,” Laureano said. “That’s so emotional, it’s so cool that he did that for that kid.”
Davis’ shot for his 37th homer of the year clanked off a window in the suite-level in left-center field. He did it wearing a uniform signed by 10-year-old Anthony Slocumb. The Oakland sixth-grader, in remission from a rare cancer, attended the game with a group from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Davis asked him to sign his jersey before the game.
Davis had no thoughts of switching uniforms, saying, “I wanted to rock that.”
“I thought about him around the bases,” Davis said. “There’s not a better feeling than hitting a home run, so hopefully he got some excitement and joy from watching that.”
Laureano connected in the second and again in the sixth with a three-run shot that chased Bartolo Colon (7-11), the 45-year-old Rangers starter scratched a day earlier against the Angels because of back stiffness.
“Of course it bothers me,” Colon said through an interpreter. “But I’m in good condition so I think I will try to keep pitching.”
Stephen Piscotty homered in the seventh for Oakland.
Marcus Semien added an RBI double to back Mike Fiers (9-6) as Oakland tied the Astros for the AL West lead. The A’s took two of three during a weekend series against the reigning World Series champions to stay right on Houston’s heels.
“This is fun,” Laureano said. “Everybody is doing their jobs, so I have zero pressure. I’m just trying to play my game, help the team win, take good at-bats, and that’s what I focus on.”
Fiers allowed one hit, struck out eight and walked one over seven innings in his third start for the A’s, who have won the last five against the Rangers.
Colon was trying to win his third straight start after losing five in a row. He allowed seven runs and 10 hits in five innings facing his former club. Colon pitched in 2012-13 for the A’s, serving a 50-game suspension in ’12 after testing positive for testosterone.
Colon also pitched at the Coliseum in his Rangers debut on April 2.
Texas began a weeklong stay in the Bay Area with an interleague series set for this weekend against the Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Both teams squandered early chances, with the A’s having first and second with one out in the first and the Rangers first and second in the second with none out.
THE WEST RACE
The A’s are 7-3 during a current stretch playing 12 straight games and 19 of 23 vs. AL West opponents.
Rangers star Adrian Beltre won’t decide until after the season, his 21st in the big leagues and the last year of a contract with Texas, what’s next.
He said he will evaluate how he is playing and whether he still believes he can perform at his best and compete with the young players.
“Everything on the baseball field, everything with my family, everything with how I feel mentally is going to be part of it,” Beltre said. “But I’m not going to make a decision until the season is over. Bring it all together and be at peace with which way I’m going to go. I might answer those questions, but I might not be truthful because I don’t know myself.
Sure, the A’s had just faced division contenders Seattle and Houston in consecutive series at home.
Manager Bob Melvin wasn’t about to let his club treat the Rangers any differently.
“If we relax against this team, we’re going to get it handed to us,” Melvin said. “You look up and down their lineup, they’ve been as good as any American League team in the second half. It is a potent offense, so we’re going to have to play really well to beat these guys. Not much pressure on them, either.”
Rangers: 3B/DH Beltre had a second straight game off as he nurses a tender left hamstring that he re-injured last Monday against the Diamondbacks. He is expected to play the next two days and likely to share designated hitter duties for now with Shin-Soo Choo. “Just another 24 hours helps him,” manager Jeff Banister said of Beltre, who was available off the bench. The Rangers hadn’t considered a disabled list stint for the 39-year-old Beltre.
Rookie right-hander Ariel Jurado (2-2, 6.41 ERA) makes his sixth career start in the middle game of the series looking for his first win in three outings, while the A’s counter with Brett Anderson (2-3, 3.90). The lefty has three straight no-decisions and seeks for his first victory in five starts since beating the Rangers on July 23.