Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's walk-off win vs Indians

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's walk-off win vs Indians

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OAKLAND — The long ball reigned supreme once again for the A’s on Saturday night.

Rookie Matt Chapman homered twice and Khris Davis lined a two-run walk-off shot in the ninth inning as the A’s notched a thrilling 5-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

The bottom of the ninth began with dominant Indians closer Andrew Miller on the mound. Miller entered for the eighth and left after walking Yonder Alonso to lead off the ninth. Bryan Shaw entered and Davis connected for one of his patented opposite-field shots that sent a crowd of 33,021 into a frenzy on Rickey Henderson Night at the Coliseum.

It was the second walk-off homer of Davis’ career.

Chapman, in a 3-for-27 rut entering the night, connected for the first two homers of his career. Both came off Corey Kluber, who struck out 12 and allowed just five hits over 7 1/3 innings. Chapman hit a frozen rope to left-center in the third, then unloaded on a 455-foot blast to straightaway center in the eighth to tie it 3-3.

KD DELIVERS: Davis had struck out in two of his first three at-bats, but he connected off Shaw for his 25th homer of the season, raising his arms in celebration as he rounded first. It was the A’s seventh walk-off win of the season.

TRADE RUMOR OF THE DAY: It’s no surprise at all to see the Washington Nationals targeting the A’s bullpen for possible upgrades. But MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday that the Nats want both Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle. Washington is leading the National League East by a mile, but the Nats’ bullpen remains a glaring weakness, so they’re expected to aggressively pursue relievers. Madson threw a scoreless inning Saturday.

SOLID START: Rookie Paul Blackburn delivered his third quality start in as many outings in the bigs, though he wasn’t as dialed in as the first two. Blackburn walked four after issuing just two free passes combined over his first two outings. Two of those batters wound up scoring, with Edwin Encarcion’s two-run homer in the fourth the most damaging blow. Still, Blackburn gave the A’s every chance to win with his effort. He held the Indians to three runs over six innings, giving up five hits and striking out four.

GRAVEMAN SETS HIS GOAL: Sidelined since late May with a shoulder strain, Kendall Graveman sounded upbeat before the game about his recovery. The right-hander is scheduled to throw off the mound Sunday. If that goes well, his first rehab start will come Wednesday, possibly with Triple-A Nashville. That would most likely be a three inning/45-pitch outing. As he builds up his pitch count, Graveman estimates he’d make three starts in the minors if all according to plan, meaning the A’s could get their Opening Night starter back in early August.

ANOTHER RETURN COMING?: Chad Pinder ran the bases before the game to test his left hamstring. He’s likely to stick with the A’s for a couple more days of baseball activity and then begin his own rehab assignment.

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

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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.