Khris Davis' walk-off HR lifts Oakland Athletics past Cleveland Indians

By Eric Gilmore, The Sports Xchange   |   July 16, 2017 at 11:09 AM
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Khris Davis hit a two-run, walk-off homer for the Oakland Athletics, but it was rookie Matt Chapman who got the celebratory pie in the face and Gatorade shower after a 5-3 victory against the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night at the Oakland Coliseum.

"He deserved it," Davis of Chapman. "There's many more to come where he's going."

Chapman hit his first two career home runs, solo shots in the third and eighth innings off Indians ace Corey Kluber. He went 3-for-3, scored three runs and also doubled. He had multi extra-base hits in a game for the first time in his career. All that from a rookie who entered the game batting .146. with 22 strikeouts in 41 at-bats.

"There's always doubt, but I know that I've had struggles before and I was able to work through them and come out on top," Chapman said. "You just have to trust in your abilities and trust that the work you're doing is going to ultimately lead to success.

"Does tonight mean I'm going to be perfectly fine and never have any other struggles again? No. But it's obviously nice to have some sort of success and know that you can compete at this level and you are good enough to do it."

Davis hit reliever Bryan Shaw's 3-2 fastball over the right-center field fence for his 25th home run and second walk-off hit of the season. The walk-off homer was the second of his career.

Yonder Alonso led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk against left-hander Andrew Miller (3-3), who developed what he called a "hot spot" on a finger on his left hand and gave way to Shaw. Davis ended the game after a seven-pitch battle with Shaw. He fouled off a tough 3-2 pitch then homered, as he has so often, to the opposite field.

"I didn't think it was going out," Davis said. "I was happy that it was in the gap and Yonder might have had a chance to score, or if they held him up, putting our team in a good position to win the ball game. It just snuck over."

Chapman tied it 3-3 with a leadoff blast to center off Kluber in the eighth inning. Chapman hit Kluber's 93.4 mph sinker an estimated 455 feet, lining the ball off the facing high above the center field fence.

"It makes you nervous when anybody, not just a young kid, but a guy struggling and then they take a good swing," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Chapman. "I know he's a very well thought-off young prospect and you could see why."

Edwin Encarnacion hit his 19th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the fourth inning for the Indians.

Kluber allowed three runs on five hits, including two home runs, over 7 1/3 innings. He struck out 12 and walked none.

"I threw two balls right down the middle and he took advantage of it," Kluber said of Chapman. "Not really any secret to it. I mean you put two balls on a tee like that to major league hitters and usually they're going to take advantage of it."

A's rookie right-hander Paul Blackburn allowed three runs on five hits over six innings in his third straight quality start to begin his major league career. Blackburn struck out four, walked four and threw a wild pitch.

Liam Hendriks, Daniel Coulombe and Ryan Madson (2-4) each threw one perfect inning in relief for the A's.

The Indians broke a 2-2 tie with a run in the sixth. Encarnacion led off with a walk, moved to third on Jose Ramirez's single to center and scored on Carlos Santana's ground out.

Chapman gave the A's a 1-0 lead when he sent Kluber's 2-1 cutter over the left-center field fence with one out in the third inning.

Davis has been a mentor for Chapman, who watched Davis play baseball at Cal-State Fullerton then followed in his footsteps at the school.

"Fantastic," Davis said of Chapman's two-homer night. "It was great to see him get his first one out of the way. The first one's always the hardest one. He stayed confident. Even though he got off to a little rocky start, he stayed confident."

Cleveland responded with two runs in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead.

Michael Brantley worked a leadoff walk and Encarnacion followed with a two-run shot to left field, launching Blackburn's 0-1 slider over the left field fence.

Oakland pulled even with a run in the fifth. Chapman lined an opposite-field double down the right field line with two outs, and Rajai Davis brought him home with a sharp, opposite-field single to right.

NOTES: A's RHP Kendall Graveman (strained right shoulder) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday with Triple-A Nashville. Graveman, who has been on the disabled list since May 26, said he expects to make three or four rehab starts and be ready to rejoin the A's in early August. He threw 60 pitches Friday at Class A Stockton during a live batting practice session and hit as high as 95 mph on the radar gun. ... A's INF/OF Chad Pinder (strained left hamstring) ran the bases Saturday for the first time since going on the disabled list June 24. He'll run the bases one more time then will likely begin a rehab assignment this coming week. ... Cleveland CF Bradley Zimmer hit leadoff for the fifth time this season and the second straight game against Oakland. He went 0-for-2 but walked twice and stole a base. Zimmer has hit eighth 22 times, ninth and seventh five times apiece and sixth twice. ... Former A's star Rickey Henderson threw out the ceremonial first pitch on "Rickey Henderson Day" at the Coliseum.

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