Athletics

Why A's slugger Khris Davis' clutch hit vs. Twins was just what he needed

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NBC Sports California

Why A's slugger Khris Davis' clutch hit vs. Twins was just what he needed

A's slugger Khris Davis hasn't hit a home run in a month, but he has delivered for Oakland in each of its last two wins.

The night after notching two RBI singles, Davis drove home the tying and go-ahead runs in the A's 5-4 win against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night at Target Field. Oakland was down to its last out, but had two men on base after Minnesota closer Taylor Rogers hit Mark Canha with a slider and allowed a double to Ramón Laureano. 

"Most of all I think it was big for Khris because he's come up big in those situations so many times for us and if anybody needed a little bit of a spark, it would be Khris," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters after the game.  "That was a huge hit."

In addition to a sudden lack of power, Davis has seen his batting average fall. The 31-year-old is slashing just .218/.299/.244 since June 19 -- a day after he hit his last home run. 

But Davis now has hits in each of his last four games, and all but two since the All-Star break. Only one has been of the extra-base variety -- a double in Thursday's series opener with the Twins -- yet Melvin thinks it's only a matter of time before Davis regains his power.

"My guess is he's going to hit another home run here at some point," Melvin joked. "When he does, he's going to be off to the races. But, we'll take a big hit right there which he's done many times for us. He's felt better in the last few days. That was big for him, and it was big for us."

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Davis has two career home runs to his name at Target Field and will have a chance to add a third if he is in the lineup for Sunday's series finale in Minnesota. That would end a drought that pre-dates the start of the summer, and provide further proof that Davis is back on track. 

A's Sean Manaea making strong case to start potential wild-card game

A's Sean Manaea making strong case to start potential wild-card game

Sean Manaea missed more than a year with an injury to his pitching shoulder. Somehow, he hasn't missed a beat.

The A's left-hander tossed six shutout innings Sunday, allowing just three hits and a walk with six strikeouts as Oakland beat Texas 6-1 for its sixth straight win.

"Every time out, it's borderline dominance," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters. "As the game went along, he got better and better. Absolutely fantastic. He definitely set the tone."

In three starts since returning from the injured list earlier this month, Manaea has surrendered just one run and six hits in 18 innings, with 21 strikeouts. That translates to an ERA of 0.50.

"It's been fun to play behind Sean every start," A's third baseman Matt Chapman told reporters. "He's worked quick. It seems like not a lot of guys have been getting on base. He's thrown a lot of strikes and he seems super confident. It just goes to show how hard he worked to come back."

The A's have received strong production from their entire starting rotation for most of the season, but Manaea is starting to separate himself from the pack. If the 27-year-old continues to dominate his opposition at this level, he would seem to be the clear frontrunner to start a potential Wild Card Game.

"It's almost like we've got a fresh guy now too," Melvin said. "He's pitching like he's fresh. ... Unfortunately, he had to go through what he had to go through to get to this pace, but it's a fresh, live arm right now. Every time he goes out there, the team just feels better about themselves."

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With 12 games remaining in the regular season, the A's sit at 90-60, the same exact record as last season through 150 games. Oakland leads Tampa Bay by 1 1/2 games for the first wild-card position and Cleveland by three games for the second spot.

The A's open their final homestand of the season on Monday against the Kansas City Royals.

Powerful A's offense sets franchise record with 244th homer of season

Powerful A's offense sets franchise record with 244th homer of season

Move over, Bash Brothers. There's a new king of the long ball in Oakland.

The 2019 Oakland A's set a franchise record with their 244th home run of the season on Sunday in a 6-1 win over the Texas Rangers.

Marcus Semien launched his 30th home run of the season in the third inning to match the record at 243. Then in the ninth, Matt Chapman blasted his 34th homer to set the new mark.

"I think it means a lot for our whole team, in general, to be able to take that record with an organization that's had a Mark McGwire and a Jose Canseco and guys like that," Chapman told reporters. "It just shows that we have a lot of good players on our team. I was the lucky one who got to break the record but I don't think I'd be here without Oly (Matt Olson) and Marcus (Semien) and a lot of those guys. It was definitely a team effort."

Semien's home run gives the A's three players with at least 30 long balls for the first time since 2001, when Jason Giambi, Eric Chavez, and Miguel Tejada accomplished the feat.

"30 home runs for Marcus Semien -- I don't even know what to say about that," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters. "Leading off and what he does defensively, the numbers that he's putting up, his leadership."

Added Chapman: "Amazing. It just goes to show that hard work pays off and he just continually got better. He was able to make adjustments every year. He'd go home in the offseason and figure out what he wants to work on -- his weaknesses -- and he would go and get better and turn them into his strengths." 

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Incredibly, the A's still have 12 games left to add to their new record. Chapman and Matt Olson currently lead the squad with 34 round-trippers and have a shot at reaching 40. Mark Canha, Ramon Laureano, Khris Davis, and Jurickson Profar give the A's an Oakland-record seven players with 20 or more home runs.