The Texas Rangers have no answer for Oakland A’s designated hitter Khris Davis. At some point, they might want to stop pitching to him altogether.
One day after supplying a go-ahead three-run home run in the 10th inning to help the A’s overturn an eight-run deficit against the Rangers and win, Davis hit two more long balls to almost single-handedly give Oakland a 6-5 victory on Wednesday. His second blast came with two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning, his opposite-field shot turning a one-run Texas lead into an A’s advantage.
Oakland has now won five games in a row and 26 of its past 33. They now have 17 come-from-behind wins during that run, with 12 of those coming in the eighth inning or later. The A’s will attempt a sweep of the Rangers on Thursday, after their latest come-from-behind effort erased the worst outing of the season for starter Edwin Jackson.
Through his first five starts with the organization, Jackson had avoided the kind of bad outing that relegated him to a minor league role to start the year. His 2.93 ERA since being called up had been instrumental in Oakland’s recent success. On Wednesday, though, the 34-year-old right-hander was unable to get through five innings for the first time this year.
Last month, after making his second start with the A’s, Jackson mentioned the importance of avoiding free passes as a defense against multi-RBI home runs. In that game, he’d given up two solo blasts to the Cleveland Indians but still earned the win.
Against the Rangers on Wednesday, he walked first baseman Jurickson Profar and right fielder Joey Gallo to lead off the second inning, which meant catcher Robinson Chirinos’ ensuing shot to deep center field put Texas ahead 3-1 rather than just tying the game. Jackson was chased in the fifth after surrendering RBI singles to second baseman Rougned Odor and third baseman Adrian Beltre.
While the Oakland (60-43) already added reliever Jeurys Familia via trade this month, it’s possible it will add a starting pitcher to guard against the potential declines of a suspect rotation. Starts like the one Jackson offered on Wednesday might add urgency there. A name that’s been reported as a potential target this week is Detroit Tigers right-hander Mike Fiers, who has a 3.49 ERA this year.
The A’s started their comeback in the seventh inning, adhering to the trend of late-game scoring outbursts that have regularly led to improbable wins. Davis launched a three-run home run 427 feet to dead center in that frame, bringing his streak of consecutive games with a homer to four and his streak of consecutive games with a homer against the Rangers to six.
With Oakland down to its final strike in theninth, and with the Seattle Mariners winning earlier Wednesday, it appeared set to be a rare day where Oakland lost playoff ground in the American League Wild Card race. Instead, Davis helped the A’s roll continue. He now has 112 home runs over the last three seasons — more than any other big league hitter.