Matt Chapman's 455-foot homer highlights biggest game yet with A's

Matt Chapman's 455-foot homer highlights biggest game yet with A's

OAKLAND — Matt Chapman got the pie in the face Saturday that typically would be reserved for walk-off hero Khris Davis.

In the winning clubhouse afterward, the A’s rookie third baseman proudly wore a T-shirt that Yonder Alonso had made up for everyone. In neon lettering, like you might find in the window of a barber shop, the shirt read: “Oakland, Walk-offs Welcome!”

“I thought it was appropriate to wear for this,” Chapman told the gathered media.

Chapman soaked up the atmosphere of the A’s wild 5-3 victory over Cleveland, which came courtesy of Davis blasting a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off the Indians’ Bryan Shaw.

But Chapman was as responsible as anyone for Oakland’s second win in as many nights against the defending American League champs. While his teammates were befuddled all night by right-hander Corey Kluber, Chapman blasted two homers off the 2014 Cy Young winner — the first two homers of Chapman’s big league career.

He also doubled to complete his 3-for-3 night. Combined with his triple the night before, Chapman is showing major signs of turning the corner from an awful offensive slump since returning from a knee infection that briefly hospitalized him.

He was in a 3-for-27 rut coming into Saturday.

“You wouldn’t know if he was 10-for-10 or 0-for-50, which tells a lot about him,” A’s starter Paul Blackburn said.

Chapman’s own comments on the biggest night of his brief major league career lends some insight into the mature mindset he brings to the ballpark.

“Do I think tonight means I’m just gonna be perfectly fine and never have any struggles again? No,” Chapman said. “But it’s obviously nice to have some sort of success and know you can compete at this level, and that you are good enough to do it. If anything, you just use it as motivation to keep working hard.”

Chapman drilled a 2-1 cutter from Kluber over the wall in left-center for his first homer in the third. Leading off the bottom of the eighth, Chapman sensed that Kluber might try to blow a first-pitch fastball by him. He got a 92 mile-per-hour two-seamer and belted a game-tying blast 455 feet, the ball striking off the base of a luxury suite in dead center.

For that, Chapman received a whipped cream pie in the face from Josh Phegley and two buckets of water over his head from Ryon Healy and Bruce Maxwell as he conducted a TV interview that on many nights would have belonged to Davis.

“He deserved it,” Davis said. “There’s many more to come where he’s going. It won’t be the last.”

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.