Athletics

Rosales, A's turn back the clock with walk-off victory over Tigers

Rosales, A's turn back the clock with walk-off victory over Tigers

OAKLAND — The A’s had posted a dozen victories coming into the night, but the joy they experienced Saturday seemed like a fresh feeling for everyone in the clubhouse.

They pulled out one of those ninth-inning comebacks against Detroit that brought to mind so many games at the Coliseum during the division-winning seasons of 2012 and 2013.

Adam Rosales still had whipped cream residue around his ears as he addressed reporters, not long after his two-run single scored the tying and winning runs as Oakland pulled out a 6-5 victory over the Tigers.

“It’s almost like a relief to get that win,” Rosales said with a big grin. “We have a chance to win the series now and get over a little hump. It just feels good to win together as a team because we all fought until the end in that ballgame.”

The euphoric postgame scene was familiar: Players spilling out of the dugout to celebrate, Rosales getting slammed with a whipped cream pie and a bucket of water during his TV interview.

But the characters involved were different. In years past, Josh Reddick or Coco Crisp would have been the ringleaders of all the postgame shenanigans. Both are gone — Reddick dealt at last summer’s non-waiver trade deadline, Crisp shipped off a month later.

Stephen Vogt, a hold-over from happier years, delivered the pie to Rosales. But it was Ryon Healy and Bruce Maxwell — two players who could be future building blocks — who dumped the bucket. Tradition needs to be passed down on such occasions.

“I think we were a couple of the (last) ones in the dugout at the time,” Maxwell said. “Healy was like, ‘Hey, come help me with this cooler’ and I was like, ‘Hell yeah, I’m down.’”

It was an unlikely combination near the bottom of the batting order that ignited the winning rally. The bases were empty and the A’s were down to their last strike against veteran closer Francisco Rodriguez when Maxwell — who entered as a defensive replacement after Stephen Vogt had been pinch-hit for — battled back from an 0-2 count to work a walk to keep his team alive.

“Just trying to pass the baton to the next batter,” Maxwell said.

Then Matt Joyce, who brought a .185 batting average into the game but had made hard contact twice before the ninth, doubled to the right field corner to put the tying and winning runs in scoring position.

Rosales, who had never faced Rodriguez and was next up, was feverishly pumping Vogt and Khris Davis for a scouting report on the reliever.

“I knew he was gonna give me a fastball, but I didn’t know it was gonna be the first pitch, a pitch I could handle,” Rosales said.

A veteran who’s only starting regularly because of shortstop Marcus Semien’s injury, Rosales smacked a first-pitch fastball into left for the game winner.

The A’s first walk-off win of the year gave reliever Frankie Montas, who hit 101 miles per hour on the stadium gun in the top of the ninth, his first major league victory. It also gave manager Bob Melvin a memorable win on the night he was honored with his own bobblehead as a fan giveaway.

“What a night,” Melvin said. “A lot of contributions, man. We used just about everybody we had tonight and I think it was big for Frankie Montas to go and put up a zero. Guys were telling him when he came in the dugout, ‘we’re gonna get you a win tonight.’ Everybody had a part in it.”

 

A's notes: Mark Canha hits career-high 17th homer in win vs. Twins

A's notes: Mark Canha hits career-high 17th homer in win vs. Twins

OAKLAND — Mark Canha blasted a pinch-hit two-run home run to tie the game in the sixth inning Friday night. It was his 17th homer of the season, a new career high.

“That's kind of cool,” Canha said after the A's walked off the Twins in the 10th inning. “To know that you don't have a ceiling of 16, it's just kind of cool for me. I love home runs. My favorite part about the game is hitting home runs. Hopefully I can get to 20. That's kind of been a goal for me the past couple months.”

“[He's meant] a lot,” added manager Bob Melvin. “He plays multiple positions, knows how to come off the bench. ... He's ready for every situation. He's a lefty killer. ... He's a real weapon for us later on in the game and has been really for a few years now.”

Canha has hit 13 of his 17 home runs against left-handed pitchers, second most in the American League behind the Rangers' Joey Gallo.

--- The A’s scored seven or more runs in their eighth straight home game, setting a record for the longest streak in franchise history.

--- Blake Treinen leads MLB pitchers with a 0.83 ERA. He has allowed seven earned runs the entire season. Treinen has not allowed a hit in his last 13 1/3 innings, the second-longest streak in Oakland history.

--- Liam Hendriks has thrown seven straight scoreless first innings as an “opener.” He lowered his ERA to 2.35 in his seven starts this season.

--- Matt Chapman set an Oakland record with his league-leading 25th double since the All-Star break. Chapman also leads the majors with 41 extra-base hits since the Midsummer Classic.

--- Khris Davis set a career high with his 44th and 45th home runs of the season, fourth most in Oakland history and sixth most in A's history. This was his 22nd career multi-homer game, and his seventh this season.

--- Oakland starting pitchers have a streak of 35 consecutive games of seven innings or fewer. A's starters have pitched 798 innings this season. The fewest in a non-strike season in A's history is 858 2/3 in 1997.

--- The A’s have won eight of their last nine games against the Twins, and 17 of their last 20 at the Coliseum.

--- Oakland improved to 30-13 (.698 winning percentage) in one-run games, which is the best record in MLB. The A's record for winning percentage in one-run games is .698 (30-13) in 1928.

--- The A's are 38-19 since the All-Star break, which is the best record in the majors.

A's slugger Khris Davis stakes AL MVP claim with two homers vs. Twins

A's slugger Khris Davis stakes AL MVP claim with two homers vs. Twins

OAKLAND — Khris Davis probably isn't going to win the AL MVP award. Heck, he might not even finish in the top five. But after Friday night's performance, it became even more clear that there is no one in baseball more valuable to their team than the A's designated hitter.

Davis hit two more home runs, including a walk-off blast in the 10th inning, which sent the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum into a frenzy, followed immediately by boisterous chants of “MVP.”

“I was one of those (chanting),” A's manager Bob Melvin joked. “You look at his numbers and what he's meant to this team, he definitely needs to be in the conversation.”

“What do you say?" asked outfielder Mark Canha. "I'm at a loss for words. He does things that just leave you speechless. It's crazy.”

“I can't explain (the feeling),” Davis said. “There's not a better feeling in the world.”

Davis set a new career high with his 44th and 45th home runs of the season, four more than anyone else in MLB. His 119 RBI are also a career high and rank second in baseball, five behind Boston's J.D. Martinez.

“It's one-of-a-kind power,” Melvin marveled. “He's so strong. He uses his lower half well, but sometimes he loses his lower half and just kind of flicks it, and that means his hands and forearms are pretty strong. He keeps himself back just enough to drive it.”

“I thought it was a double, just the ball off my bat initially,” Davis said of his game-winning home run. “I was thinking, 'Get on second.' And then it just kept carrying, which is even better.”

Davis will likely finish behind Martinez and Mookie Betts of the Red Sox, Cleveland's Jose Ramirez, Houston's Alex Bregman, and Mike Trout of the Angels in the MVP voting. They are all admittedly terrific players, but are any of them truly as valuable to their team as Davis is to the A's?

Take Davis out of Oakland's lineup and it's a completely different team. Sure, Oakland has other good hitters. But Davis affects the way opposing pitchers approach the entire lineup. He is a constant in the back of their mind, lurking just beneath the surface.

“He's obviously awesome for us on the field,” Canha said. “He's an awesome teammate. We love the heck out of him.”

“It's pretty dramatic how he started the game and ended the game,” Melvin added. “He's as good a power hitter as anybody in the game.”

Davis' 45 home runs are already the fourth most in Oakland single-season history. He is trying to become the first A's player to lead MLB in homers since Mark McGwire in 1996.

“It would be a nice achievement,” Davis acknowledged. “But first and foremost, I want to get deep in the playoffs. That means a lot more.”