OAKLAND -- Rajai Davis was noticeably disappointed in the clubhouse on Monday afternoon when he saw his name had been left out of the starting lineup. Things ended up working out for the best. Davis delivered a pinch-hit, two-run, walk-off triple, capping a three-run ninth to give the A's a series-opening win over the Rangers, 3-2.
"It's funny," Davis said. "Things have a way of working themselves out. It worked out for our team, and it ended in heroic fashion." Davis' game-winner extended his hitting streak to a career-high eight games. The game-ending triple was only the fourth in Oakland history and the first since Carney Lansford's on Aug. 28, 1986. "He's been phenomenal lately," A's starter Brett Anderson said. "That was a tough spot to come into tonight. It was awesome. ... We had good hitting, good pitching, good defense. A good overall team win." Anderson was pretty phenomenal himself. The 21-year-old rookie went 7 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out eight. "Brett was great," A's manager Bob Geren said. "There's a lot of home run hitters on that team, and I thought he tied them down well. ... He was pretty pinpoint with his control, really. He commanded both sides of the plate. He had the perfect game plan, and he executed it." Anderson only got into trouble in one inning, loading the bases with nobody out in the fifth. The lefty limited the damage to one run, though, inducing a 6-4-3 double play, then recording a strikeout to get out of the inning. "Our biggest downfall, being a young staff, has been the big inning," Anderson said. "You could tell early on that runs would be at a premium, so that was big for us." Anderson is 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in 46 innings over his past seven starts, holding opponents to a .182 average. The rest of the A's rotation hasn't shared his fortune of late, combining to go 3-10 with a 7.87 ERA over its past 20 starts. "It's been big for my confidence," Anderson said of the seven-start streak. "I want to be the stopper. That's what I want to be known as." "From the start of Spring Training," Geren said, "Brett looked a little further ahead of the other young pitchers. ... I think all of these guys have frontline stuff. He's just climbing that ladder quicker." The A's couldn't solve Texas starter Dustin Nippert. The right-hander threw five innings of one-hit ball, walking two and striking out five. Neftali Feliz, rated the Rangers' No. 1 prospect by Baseball America, entered in the sixth for his Major League debut. The 21-year-old threw two perfect innings, striking out the first four batters he faced. He topped out at 101 mph. Mark Ellis went 1-for-4, extending his hitting streak to a season-high eight games. He's batting .344 over that span.
Adam Loberstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.