OAKLAND -- The A's completed a three-game sweep of the Rangers on Wednesday afternoon, their 8-1 victory at the Coliseum highlighted by Khris Davis' 12th home run and yet another strong showing from left-hander Rich Hill.Hill limited Texas to one run and three hits in six innings, striking out six
OAKLAND -- The A's completed a three-game sweep of the Rangers on Wednesday afternoon, their 8-1 victory at the Coliseum highlighted by Khris Davis' 12th home run and yet another strong showing from left-hander Rich Hill.
Hill limited Texas to one run and three hits in six innings, striking out six while earning his team-best sixth win and lowering his ERA to 2.54. The southpaw received early run support, with the A's putting together a three-run first inning against Texas starter Martin Perez that featured RBI hits from Danny Valencia and Marcus Semien.
"The story is the first inning and giving up three runs," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Against a guy like Rich Hill, that presents challenges down the road."
Valencia finished with three hits, while Semien collected two, including another run-scoring single as part of a four-run eighth inning against the Rangers' bullpen. Yonder Alonso chipped in with an RBI base hit in the frame.
The left-handed Perez went seven innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, including Davis' solo shot in the sixth inning. Davis, who hit three homers -- among them a walk-off grand slam -- in Tuesday's contest, has a Major League-leading nine home runs and 20 RBIs in the month of May. The A's have won five of their past six games after dropping five straight.
"It's amazing," Valencia said of Davis' tear. "It's a lot of fun to watch. People don't realize how hard it is, and right now he's making it look real easy. For him to do what he's doing, it's pretty special, and you can't take it for granted because you don't see it too often."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pitching Rich-es: Hill set the tone early, needing only 12 pitches to get through a 1-2-3 first inning. The lefty put two on base in the second but exited it unscathed, and he went on to retire nine consecutive batters before another opponent reached base, bucking a trend of early-inning struggles. Entering the game, 13 of his 16 runs allowed had scored in the first three frames. Hill's work earned him his first home win of the season.
"The point is to go out there and stay in the moment and make every pitch as competitive as you can," Hill said. "At the end of the outing and at the end of the day, you can look back and say 'OK, I had the ball come out of my hand the way I wanted to more often than not.' In the end, things are going to fall into place."
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Walk right in: Perez allowed three runs in the first inning, and two walks hurt. After a one-out single by Billy Burns, Perez got ahead 0-2 on Josh Reddick and ended up walking him. They executed a double steal and scored on a single by Valencia. Perez then walked Davis and struck out Billy Butler, but another run scored on a single by Semien.
"I just couldn't find my rhythm in the first inning," Perez said. More >
Powering up: Davis' average (.238) isn't overwhelming, but he continues to show off the type of power that prompted the A's to swing a trade for him in February. The outfielder's 12 home runs are tied for most in the American League, and he has 32 total since Aug. 6, 2015 -- tops in the Majors.
"I've been known to be a little superstitious, so I kind of don't like to talk about these things," A's manager Bob Melvin said, "but it seems like every time he puts the barrel on it, it leaves the ballpark, and I think the numbers would suggest that as well. It's impressive."
Desmond gets Rangers on board: The Rangers had just one hit through 5 1/3 innings before Ian Desmond singled to left with one out in the sixth. He stole second and scored on a two-out single by Prince Fielder. But that was it for the day.
"Being able to string at-bats together and have multiple baserunners ... the big inning, that's been the thing for us this year," Banister said. "We missed that this series."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
This marked the A's first series sweep of three or more games at the Coliseum since July 3-6, 2014, against Toronto. Their streak of 40 consecutive home series without a sweep was the longest such streak in Oakland history.
Rangers: Right-hander Colby Lewis pitches for the Rangers as they open a three-game series with the Astros at 7:05 p.m. CT on Friday at Minute Maid Park. Lewis was 4-0 with a 4.15 ERA in five starts against the Astros last year.
A's: Right-hander Kendall Graveman takes the mound Thursday for the opener of a four-game series against the Yankees, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT at the Coliseum. Graveman's lone win of the season came against the Yankees in New York on April 20, when he compiled 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball. He's 0-4 with a 9.31 ERA over his last four starts.
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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.