After special night, Chapman, Davis reflect on Fullerton connection

After special night, Chapman, Davis reflect on Fullerton connection

OAKLAND — Long before he starred for the Cal State Fullerton baseball team, Matt Chapman watched lots of Titans games as a kid and even served as a bat boy for the team.

One of the players that used to catch his eye in those days — current A’s teammate Khris Davis. What a special night it was Saturday for Chapman, who hit the first two homers of his career and then watched Davis launch a walk-off two-run homer to beat the Cleveland Indians 5-3.

Davis played at Fullerton from 2007-09. Chapman was done serving as a bat boy by then, but he watched Davis many times from the seats as a fan. Chapman would later star for Fullerton himself from 2012-14 and be the A’s top pick in the 2014 draft.

“The first time we met he told me my poster was up in the Fullerton locker room. It made me feel like a big deal,” Davis said in a deadpan manner.

That first encounter came during spring training 2016. Davis had just arrived in a trade from Milwaukee and Chapman was participating in his first big league spring camp.

“I kind of didn’t really think about any of it until I got to big league camp and started playing with him,” Chapman said. “It was cool to be able to watch him when I was younger and now play with him and just see the things that he’s capable of doing. He’s got some pretty special talents with that bat.”

Davis’ game-winner — the second walk-off homer of his career — was typical of his unique power. After Yonder Alonso drew a leadoff walk off Indians star closer Andrew Miller, the right-handed Bryan Shaw entered and Davis worked the count to full. On the seventh pitch of the at-bat, Davis got a cutter low in the zone and somehow drove it to the opposite field, a low liner that surprised even Davis when it cleared the right field wall. Davis came in 0-for-4 with four strikeouts against Shaw.

He takes particular pride in the homers he hits to the opposite field at the Coliseum, a home park known for being very tough for right-handers to show power to right.

“The ones that surprise are the ones that are really down the line, near the foul pole. Those ones are my favorites,” Davis said. “I’m just glad I could deliver in a big spot. The crowd was going crazy on Ricky Henderson Night. It was pretty cool.”

Report: A's bringing back former slugger first baseman

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Report: A's bringing back former slugger first baseman

The A's hit a lot of home runs and they appear to be bringing back a player that hits a lot of home runs.

Chris Carter, who played for the A's from 2010 through 2012, is reportedly signing a minor league contract to return to the organization.

News of the deal was first reported by FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman.

Carter was released by the Yankees on July 10. In 62 games for New York, Carter hit .201/.284/.370 with five doubles, eight home runs and 26 RBI.

Over the previous four seasons between Houston and Milwaukee, Carter hit 131 home runs and drove in 328 runs.

Carter's high-water mark with the A's came in 2012 when he hit 16 home runs in 67 games.

Sonny Gray keeps dealing, A's avoid sweep with win over Rays

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Sonny Gray keeps dealing, A's avoid sweep with win over Rays

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND — Sonny Gray struck out six pitching into the seventh in what might have been his final home start in Oakland if the club tries to deal him before the trade deadline, and the Athletics rallied in the fifth inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2 on Wednesday.

Matt Joyce hit a towering homer to the right-field seats in the eighth for Oakland.

Rajai Davis doubled home Oakland's first run in the fifth then Joyce followed with a tying sacrifice fly before Davis scurried home with the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

Gray (6-4) won his third straight start and fourth in five. When speculation arose from the White Sox side before his Friday outing that the right-hander had been scratched because of a possible deal, the A's quickly announced that he was indeed taking the mound for his scheduled outing.

After a pair of one-run defeats to begin this series, the A's avoided being swept by the Rays in Oakland for the first time. This already marked just their third lost series at home to Tampa Bay.

Gray allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings with two walks.

The Rays got three straight singles off Gray to start the fourth inning, including an RBI single by Wilson Ramos. Brad Miller also drove in a run on a groundout.

But Oakland finally got to Tampa Bay right-hander Jake Faria (4-1) in the fifth. With seven straight quality starts to begin his career, Faria took his first big league loss.

A's All-Star Yonder Alonso hit an RBI single in the inning, when Faria had two of his four walks. He allowed six hits and four runs in five innings, striking out four.

Alonso was thrown out at home in the first when he tried to go from first on Khris Davis' double to right. The throw beat him so handily Alonso didn't even try to slide and instead ran behind the plate before turning for the dugout.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rays: RF Steven Souza Jr. exited the game in the first after straining his left hip trying to steal second after drawing a leadoff walk to start the game. Shane Peterson replaced him. X-rays were negative and he will be re-evaluated once the team arrives home. ... Manager Kevin Cash said LHP Blake Snell would make his next turn in the rotation despite still being winless at 0-5 with a 4.98 ERA in 11 starts. "He's going to pitch well," Cash said.

Athletics: The A's hope to have Chad Pinder back from the DL and a strained left hamstring when they return home from an upcoming seven-game trip to the New York Mets and Toronto. Manager Bob Melvin plans to use him as a utilityman. ... RHP Kendall Graveman allowed five hits and four runs with one strikeout and a walk on 46 pitches in 2 1/3 innings with Triple-A Nashville rehabbing his strained pitching shoulder. RHP Jharel Cotton (blister on his right thumb) also pitched in the game, striking out six in 3 1/3 innings, while Pinder was 0 for 2 with a walk and strikeout for the Sounds.

UP NEXT

Rays: With the Rays back home, RHP Alex Cobb (8-6, 3.59 ERA) takes the ball in Friday's series opener against Yu Darvish and Texas having not faced the Rangers since April 6, 2014.

Athletics: After Thursday's day off following a cross-country flight, RHP Paul Blackburn (1-0, 1.83 ERA) pitches the series opener at the Mets in his fourth career start.