Rangers try to slow down A’s, Davis

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Texas Rangers‘ hottest pitcher, Mike Minor, has the unenviable task of trying to slow down one of baseball’s hottest hitters, the Oakland AthleticsKhris Davis, when the two American League West clubs conclude a three-game series Wednesday afternoon.

Davis doomed the Rangers for a second consecutive night Tuesday, smacking his 38th home run of the season, a two-run shot, as part of a three-RBI performance in a 6-0 victory.

Davis also homered in Monday’s 9-0 romp, and now has nine home runs in 15 games against Texas this season.

A’s manager Bob Melvin shrugged his shoulders when informed of Davis’ dominance of the Rangers after Tuesday’s win, insisting he was even more pleased with his clean-up hitter’s two-out, two-strike RBI single than his homer.

“Just as impressive are his RBIs,” Melvin said. “He’s getting better. Now he’s driving in runs with two-out singles. That club wasn’t in his bag for a while.”

Davis’ three RBIs raised his season total to 102, giving him three straight years with 100 or more. He established a career-high last year with 110.

He has 36 more games in which to get the nine RBIs he needs to surpass his personal best. And he has four more shots at the Rangers, against whom he has hit nine homers with a whopping 24 RBIs in the clubs’ first 15 meetings.

Davis will dig in Wednesday against Minor (9-6, 4.61 ERA), against whom he has one career home run and two other hits in eight at-bats.

Minor collared Davis with an 0-for-2 in July when he pitched the first five innings of a 13-10 home loss to the A’s. One of the outs was a deep fly to left field.

Minor left that game with a 4-2 lead after five innings, only to see the Rangers’ bullpen implode.

The 30-year-old has pitched well in his last 11 starts, going 5-2 with a 3.53 ERA.

He sees outings like Wednesday’s as a potential springboard to future success.

“The first half of the season was pretty bad,” he said of a 4-4 start with a 5.76 ERA. “The last couple of weeks or month I think I’ve pitched better. But I’m actually looking forward to the offseason to get better and come back next year and have a complete, good full season.”

Minor is 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA in five games, including two starts, against the A’s in his career.

Oakland will sent right-hander Edwin Jackson (4-2, 2.58) to the mound in search of a three-game sweep.

The veteran pitched his worst game of the season at Texas in July in his only previous start against the Rangers this year, failing to get out of the fifth inning after giving up five runs and seven hits.

One of the hits was a three-run homer by Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos.

The A’s rallied to win the game 6-5.

Jackson has started eight games against the Rangers in his career, going 2-3 with a 4.56 ERA.