ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Khris Davis benefited from comfortable hitting surroundings despite playing halfway across the country from his home ballpark.
The Oakland slugger homered for the first time in nearly a month as the Athletics built an eight-run lead, then hung on to beat the Texas Rangers 9-8 on Sunday for a four-game series split.
Davis hit a two-run homer off Drew Smyly (1-5) in the third inning, his 13th home run this season but first since May 13. Davis sustained a left hip and oblique injury on May 5, tried to play through it and was out from May 22-31. Davis has 17 homers in 32 games at Globe Life Park, and he added an RBI single in the ninth against José Leclerc, giving him 34 RBIs this season.
“Just got to stay within myself and weather the storm of the season,” Davis said. “The power’s going to come and go, but it just felt good to help the team out.”
Frankie Montas (8-2) improved to 4-0 in his last seven starts, allowing three runs — two earned — and seven hits in six innings. He matched his career high with 10 strikeouts, getting his final six outs on Ks.
“I would say the last two innings I was feeling better than the first four,” Montas said.
Matt Olson homered in the second off Smyly, who gave up five runs and six hits in three innings. Smyly has an 8.40 ERA and failed to finish four innings for the fifth time in nine starts.
Texas trailed 8-3 in the eighth when Asdrúbal Cabrera and Rougned Odor hit consecutive RBI doubles, and Odor stole home off left-hander Ryan Buchter, who was slow to step off the rubber and throw home.
Odor bluffed a steal on the first pitch and saw Buchter didn’t react.
On the second pitch, “I just put my head down and kept going,” Odor said. He dove and stretched his left arm between the legs of catcher Josh Phegley.
Cabrera, who homered in the sixth, hit an RBI single in the ninth against Blake Treinen, and Texas closed to 9-8 within on a run-scoring passed ball by Phegley. Odor walked and with runners on first and second, Treinen retired Ronald Guzmán on a game-ending flyout for his 14th save in 16 chances.
Stephen Piscotty hit a line drive off Smyly’s left knee in the second inning. Smyly was examined by head trainer Matt Lucero, and Olson then hit the next pitch into the upper deck in right field. Smyly said that was the only pitch affected by being hit by Piscotty’s liner.
Hunter Pence robbed Mark Canha of an extra-base hit in the first inning. Pence ran to the wall in left, leaped and made the catch at the out-of-town scoreboard with his left hand while clutching the scoreboard’s protective rubber netting with his right hand.
FLAWLESS FIRST IMPRESSION
Peter Fairbanks made his major league debut. The 25-year-old right-hander who has come back following two Tommy John surgeries entered in the fifth, struck out the side, then pitched a hitless sixth.
Fairbacks was recalled from Triple-A Nashville, where he was promoted to only 11 days earlier.
“It’s been a pretty hectic month,” Fairbanks said. “My goal for this year was to be able to make it to (Double-A) Frisco for most of the year.”
Ramón Laureano extended his on-base streak to 28 games, the longest current one in the major leagues, with a second-inning single. … The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 5 minutes. … The Rangers observed a moment of silence before the game for former manager Frank Lucchesi, who died Saturday at age 92.
Rangers: LHP Matt Bush (elbow), who began an injury rehab with Double-A Frisco on Saturday, could return to the major league roster this month.
A’s: RHP Tanner Anderson will be recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday to open a three-game series at Tampa Bay.
Rangers: LHP Mike Minor (5-4, 2.74), fifth in the American League in ERA, will begin a four-game series at Boston.