OAKLAND – Just one week ago the A’s were the epitome of on-field dysfunction, unable to get all components of their game working together.
Fast forward to Wednesday, when the A’s turned in an excellent all-around game to record their first home sweep of three or more games in nearly two years.
Rich Hill won his third consecutive start and Khris Davis homered yet again as the A’s beat Texas 8-1 for their fifth win in six games. They hadn’t swept an opponent in three or more games at the Coliseum since July 3-6, 2014, when they took four games from Toronto. That ends a streak of 40 such home series in a row without a sweep, the longest in Oakland history.
It’s a reflection of the turnaround the A’s have shown of late, and they’re showing the signs of a team gaining confidence and beginning to jell. The A’s climbed back to within three games of .500 at 19-22 as the New York Yankees arrive Thursday to begin a four-game series.
The A’s jumped on left-hander Martin Perez (1-4) for three runs in the first and the Rangers never really threatened to jump back into the game. Davis, who homered three times and had the walk-off grand slam Tuesday night, added a solo shot in the sixth Wednesday that ricocheted off the green facing above the camera well in deep left-center. Davis’ 12 homers put him a tie for most in the American League and second most in the major leagues, and his nine homers in May lead the majors for the month.
Starting pitching report:
Staked to an early 3-0 lead, Hill (6-3) made it stand and turned in his sharpest outing in four Coliseum starts. The lefty held the Rangers to three hits over and one run over six innings, striking out six and walking one. He entered the day with an 0-3 record and 4.85 ERA in three starts at home.
Fernando Rodriguez and Andrew Triggs put the finishing touches on Hill’s victory.
At the plate:
The A’s banged out 12 hits, and though another Davis homer was the highlight, the A’s got key hits up and down the lineup. Cleanup man Danny Valencia continued swinging a hot bat, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and Marcus Semien also drove in two runs. The A’s jumped on Perez right away. Billy Burns and Josh Reddick pulled off a double steal in the first to set up Valencia’s two-run single, and the A’s were on their way to a tension-free victory.
In the field:
In another encouraging sign, the A’s played another strong game defensively. Notably, Billy Butler drew another start at first base and showed good hands with multiple nice stops. He also had a strong game with the glove in Monday’s series opener. Tyler Ladendorf, who started at second base, made a great diving play in the ninth.
The announced turnout was 14,323.
The New York Yankees, bringing up the rear in the American League East, arrive for a four-game series. Thursday — Kendall Graveman (1-5, 5.84) vs. Ivan Nova (2-1, 3.70), 7:05 p.m. Friday — Sonny Gray (3-4, 5.84) vs. lefty CC Sabathia (2-2, 3.81), 6:35 p.m. Saturday — Sean Manaea (1-1, 7.91) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 3.51), 1:05 p.m. Sunday — Jesse Hahn (1-1, 3.38) vs. Michael Pineda (1-5, 6.60), 1:05 p.m. All four games will air on CSN California.