A’s walk off behind Khris Davis grand slam
It was their poison; it was their medicine. And Oakland’s Khris Davis was the prescribing doctor.
In each of his 6-2/3 innings, A’s starter Jesse Hahn allowed at least one base runner. He was able to work his way out of all but one of the jams, however, as he gave up just three runs in getting a no-decision. Cole Hamels (4-0, 3.10 ERA) got the start for the Rangers (22-18), serving up four Oakland runs over 6-2/3 in a no decision of his own.
A’s closer Ryan Madson (2-0, 1.93 ERA) was credited with the win for the A’s (18-22), despite blowing the save in the ninth. Texas closer Shawn Tolleson (0-2, 9.20 ERA) took the loss and blown save, giving up the Davis game-ender.
After the game, manager Bob Melvin said that a game with similar ups and downs is all a fan could ask for:
“If you’re a baseball fan, I don’t know that you get a better game to watch. Certainly, if you’re an A’s fan it turned out the way you wanted it to.”
After a red-hot road trip during which he slugged his first five home runs of the season, third baseman Danny Valencia opened the scoring with a homer (6) in the second. Davis immediately followed suit, driving a curveball over the the 367 sign for a bomb (9) on the very next pitch.
Davis added another in the sixth, giving him his eighth career two-homer game, his second this season. With No. 10 “Khrush” tied shortstop Marcus Semien for the team lead, making them the second American League duo of teammates to reach double-digits (Mark Trumbo and Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles).
Hahn (1-1, 3.50 ERA) was tagged for 10 hits and a walk. Aside from consecutive dingers and an RBI single in the fourth, though, he was able to wiggle out of trouble. Led by several excellent displays of effective range from the left side of the infield, the starter got a huge assist from the defense. But keeping the ball in the infield is a tough task when facing the major league’s second-best scoring team.
Of his starter’s outing, Melvin said:
“He threw the ball really well. It was just one little, short stretch there and it cost him all his runs… And when you talk about ‘all his runs’, it was only three.”
“It was kind of like my last outing — it might have been the same inning too — just a couple mistake pitches… But other than that I was really pleased with the outing.”
Long since lifted, the starter watched the ninth inning unfold on the clubhouse television.
Pinch-hitting to lead off the frame, Stephen Vogt got on with what he called a full-swing bunt. Lead-off man Coco Crisp followed with a double, but Billy Burns popped out. With one down, the Rangers chose to intentionally walk Oakland’s scalding three-hole hitter Josh Reddick, in what Melvin called the best option for the opposition.
Valencia, who had a three-homer game just two days prior, popped out to shallow right.
Davis saw six consecutive fastball, the last of which he crushed for a big fly into the left field bleachers and his third homer — his first career three-jack game. With six RBIs, he also matched his single-game career high.
The slugging left fielder said he knew he would come through, but asserted that the inning was created by his teammates putting together good at-bats:
“It’s a great time. To have timely hitting, and just keep us in the ballgame — give us a chance to win — that’s what we enjoy doing. Winning ballgames is first and foremost.”
In celebration of the walkoff, the home team’s second of the season, Davis was smothered with a celebratory pie to the face and doused with Gatorade.
Of the experience, he joked:
“It tasted good. It was whipped cream, instead of shaving cream, so I was getting a little sugar rush. … It ruined my appetite for this post-game meal.”
The A’s take the field for a Wednesday afternoon game looking to sweep the Rangers. Melvin will hand the ball to 2016 top performer Rich Hill (5-3, 2.68 ERA). Texas will counter with Martin Perez (1-3, 3.23 ERA).