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.