Photo: Ben Margot (AP)

The Athletics salvaged a series split against against the plunging Rangers only by winning the last two, but they came out of it feeling pretty good about themselves. There’s nothing quite so good for morale as a slumping slugger winning a game without taking the bat off his shoulder.

Khris Davis is batting .142 in the month of July, and he hasn’t homered since June 18. It would have been understandable if, when he came up with the bases loaded in the ninth and the A’s having just tied the score on a Matt Olson RBI single, Davis wanted to be the hero. But there are multiple ways to do that. “I didn’t want to try to get too big and hit a home run,” Davis said.

He worked the count full, and took a fastball up and in from José Leclerc to send everyone home happy.

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Bob Melvin was pleased that Davis, for all his struggles this summer, did all that was needed to win and no more. “You really want to be that guy and get the hit in that situation, but you know you have to be patient,” Melvin said. “He saw it well enough to see it was a ball in that situation. That’s as good as a hit. It’s as good as a homer.”

It is! And Davis was feeling it.

“Winning close ballgames like today tells you a lot about teams,” Davis said. “I like where we’re at. We’re gonna go to the playoffs this year.”

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Okay, it’s not the boldest predication, but it’s boldish. As of this morning, the A’s are a half-game up on Tampa and a full game ahead of Boston for the second wild card spot.