OAKLAND — On a rare day when Matt Olson wasn’t in the starting lineup, he still became a difference-maker.
Olson homered to drive in the go-ahead run, Khris Davis hit his major league-leading 41st home run and the Oakland Athletics defeated the Texas Rangers 8-6 on Saturday for their fifth win in six games.
Olson broke a 6-6 tie against Chris Martin (1-4) leading off the eighth. Olson has a career-high 25 homers, one more than last year. He entered in the seventh on what was scheduled to be a day off, and he is the only A’s player to appear in all 143 games.
“I just think we’re resilient, we don’t really give up on anything,” Olson said. “If we get a lead and give it up or if it’s a tie game, everybody wants the opportunity to put us ahead and it’s just worked out that way.”
Davis hit a two-run homer in the first. He has 10 homers against the Rangers this year, matching his total against Texas in 2016.
Chad Pinder also homered and Matt Chapman added an RBI double in the eighth. The A’s, a big league-best 31-15 since the All-Star break, began the day a season-high 6½ games ahead of Seattle for the AL’s second wild card.
Oakland (86-57) is 29 games over .500 for the first time since ending 2013 at 96-66. The A’s have won eight of their last nine games against the Rangers.
Ryan Buchter (4-0) struck out Joey Gallo, his only batter, and Blake Treinen fanned two in a perfect ninth for his 37th save in 41 chances.
Adrian Beltre homered twice for the Rangers, who lost for the ninth time in 12 games. At 61-81, the Rangers matched their season high of 20 games under .500; they were 42-62 after a loss to the A’s on July 26.
“Huge bright spot,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
Oakland starter Edwin Jackson allowed four runs and five hits in a season-low three innings.
Davis’s homer was the only hit in four innings off 23-year-old left-hander Yohander Mendez, who was coming off his first big league win last weekend against Minnesota.
Texas led 4-2 before Jed Lowrie’s two-run double in the fifth. Pinder homered against Martin Perez for a 5-4 lead in the sixth, and Stephen Piscotty hit a run-scoring double off Eddie Butler in the seventh.
Beltre’s two-run homer tied the score in the eighth against Fernando Rodney. Jurickson Profar homered earlier for Texas.
Oakland is a major league-best 62-0 when leading after seven innings and is 77-0 when leading after seven going back to Sept. 2 last year.
“We had plenty of chances to score more runs, and we didn’t,” Beltre said.
Ramon Laureano crashed into the center field wall making an inning-ending running catch that robbed Beltre of extra bases and an RBI with Nomar Mazara at second base in the third.
“Off the bat, you’re just hoping it doesn’t go out,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “The next thing you know he’s crashing into the wall. Wouldn’t surprise you if the wall tipped over as hard as he plays.”