OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Nearing the end of a long, disappointing season, the Oakland Athletics are finally on a roll.
Khris Davis hit another big home run, Jharel Cotton pitched five shutout innings of one-hit ball and the Athletics extended their season-best winning streak to seven games with an 8-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
Cotton (9-10) struck out six and allowed one walk as he won his fourth straight decision.
“I was excited to come out today for the team and myself, and we’re on a seven-game winning streak, so it’s pretty fun,” Cotton said. “It’s a fun clubhouse right now.”
Texas got swept over three games at an inopportune time. The Rangers entered the series in contention for the second AL wild card, but fell 5 1/2 games behind Minnesota with a week left in the season. The Twins swept Detroit over four games this weekend.
The Rangers have lost eight straight in Oakland and 10 of 15 overall.
“We made it tough on ourselves,” Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre said. “This series was a bad one for us. We expect to come here and at least win the series. It didn’t turn out that way.”
The Rangers will take their longshot odds back to Arlington on Monday for a seven-game homestand to close out their regular season
“It will be nice to get home tomorrow and finish up with the seven at home,” interim manager Steve Buechele said.
Davis’ 41st home run, projected at 445 feet by Statcast, came on a 1-1 changeup from starter Martin Perez (12-12). It highlighted a decisive five-run burst in the fifth inning for Oakland.
A’s pitchers held the Rangers scoreless for a season-high 21 consecutive innings in the series — their previous best was 16.
The Rangers broke through in the seventh, when Nomar Mazara hit a solo home run — his 20th — off Simon Castro.
Said A’s catcher Josh Phegley: “We’re just kind of relaxing and playing our game and I think we need to take a lesson from that. We need to play like that all the time and I think we come into next year with that same mentality and just play with what we have, have fun, play hard for each other. We’ve got a great team.”
A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell took a knee during the national anthem for the second straight day. On Saturday, he became the first major league baseball player to participate in the protest movement.
Rangers: Buechele said it wasn’t known when manager Jeff Banister will rejoin the team. Banister flew to Texas on Saturday morning to be with his ailing mother Verda, who lives in Clear Lake.
Athletics: First baseman Matt Olson came out of the game after suffering a hamstring injury turning a double play in the top of the sixth inning. The severity of his injury wasn’t immediately known, A’s manager Bob Melvin said. … OF Chad Pinder was out of the lineup for a second straight day and has entered concussion protocol, and it’s not clear whether he’ll be cleared to play before the end of the season, Melvin said. Pinder suffered injuries previously thought to be whiplash after crashing into the center-field wall on Friday. He was sent home Saturday after his symptoms worsened. … OF Boog Powell (knee) is on roughly the same timetable as Pinder. … Maxwell is close to completing concussion protocol tests and could be behind the plate for Monday’s game, Melvin said.
Rangers: RHP Andrew Casher (10-10, 3.44 ERA) will start Monday’s series opener against Houston. He is 1-4 with a 4.06 ERA against the Astros in five starts this season. He’ll be the first Rangers pitcher to start six games against the same opponent since 2012 (Yu Darvish, vs. the Los Angeles Angels).
Athletics: RHP Daniel Gossett (4-9, 5.38) will pitch Monday’s series opener against Seattle. Gossett has lost three of his last four decisions and is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in two career starts against the Mariners.
By GIDEON RUBIN , Associated Press