Canha walkoff lifts A’s over Indians in extras

Mark Canha earned every drop of his post-game Gatorade shower, smashing a double off the left-field wall in the 10th inning to lift the Athletics over the Indians 2-1 for Oakland’s fourth walk-off victory this season.

Catcher Stephen Vogt crept up on Canha and smothered him in his first pie to the face. Canha recalled:

“It’s pretty violent. … It felt like a punch in the face almost, but it was a lot of fun.”

This story has been updated with post-game quotes and additional material from the A’s clubhouse.

Manager Bob Melvin credits Canha in his eagerness to play whatever role is asked of him:

“It’s always tough, whether it’s pinch hitting or coming in unexpected, mid-game stuff. We do enough of them so guys are ready for them but doesn’t mean it’s easy, and it wasn’t an easy guy he had to face to get that game winning hit.”

There was something odd about this series for Athletics starters and their first-inning performances, as Sonny Gray uncharacteristically threw 27 pitches — just seven strikes — to give up the Indians’ only run of the afternoon.

Right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall saw only one strike in his at bat versus Gray, drawing an early walk. It seemed Gray had bounced back when he struck out shortstop Francisco Lindor, but he walked left fielder Michael Brantley before designated hitter Carlos Santana singled to right center to load the bases.

Chisenhall scored on a Jerry Sands sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead, then Brantley advanced to third on a wild pitch. Gray escaped the jam by striking out third baseman Giovanny Urshela.

Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay

Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien turned two double plays with no errors while the Indians outfield kept the A’s at bay and off the bags. Solid defense kept the game quiet until the fifth, when Indians starter Trevor Bauer’s mid-inning meltdown opened the door for Oakland.

Second baseman Eric Sogard singled to right earlier in the game and drew a walk against Bauer in the fifth. Sogard advanced to second off back-to-back walks from Bauer, placing Semien at first.

Center fielder Billy Burns took the ball opposite field over third baseman Urshela into left, scoring the quick-footed Sogard from second to tie the game at 1-1.

Burns’ neighbor in left Sam Fuld would draw yet another walk from Bauer, loading the bases for Canha.

Canha, who came into hit for Josh Reddick and replaced him in the outfield, faced the struggling Bauer with two down. On a 3-2 count Canha, fouled out to end the threat and the inning.  The team later announced that Reddick was removed from the game due to tightness in his lower back.

Melvin says the injury is nothing to be worried about long-term, and Reddick said his back locked up on him:

“When I went back and watched the play it looked like it happened avoiding the ball boy who didn’t move one bit. So, gonna have a little talk with him. It’s nothing serious, so hopefully it’s day to day.”

Gray (7 IP, four hits, four walks, seven strikeouts) managed to get his pitch count (96) under control and settled into a rhythm, though he allowed runners in every inning until the eighth, when righty Dan Otero relieved him.

After an A’s ninth-inning rally fizzled, the Tribe came to bat against Fernando Rodriguez, squeezing out a walk to start the inning. With Bourn on first,second baseman Mike Aviles grounded to Sogard, who attempted turning the double play but missed the tag on Bourn.

With one down and men on first and second, Chisenhall grounded to Sogard again, who got Aviles out at first. Bourn advanced to third and Chisenhall stole second on a wild pitch.

Lindor could have won the game there with a base hit, but instead went down swinging.

Cody Allen came to the mound for the Indians in the bottom of the 10th. Fuld snuck one past the infield into center. Canha doubled, sending Fuld home and collecting his first walk-off hit, crowning him hero of Coliseum baseball for the day. Canha describes the game plan behind his double:

“I’ve been getting jammed a lot lately, so I shortened up everything and tried to get a barrel on it to see what happens and it worked out.”

He adds:

“It was pretty amazing. I was really rooting Sam [Fuld] on once I hit it to run as fast as he could.”