Khris Davis

A's find success without depending on home runs to win Angels series

A's find success without depending on home runs to win Angels series

Khris Davis and the A's have a reputation for hitting balls over the fence -- they're tied for eighth in Major League Baseball with 95 homers -- but that didn't necessarily mean success. So, they took a different approach this week as they headed to SoCal to face the Angels, and it worked.

"I like the runs we've been putting up collectively," Davis told reporters Thursday night. "I feel like we've got a rhythm going. It feels good to know things are clicking."

Thursday's 7-4 victory and the three-game series win in Anaheim brought more hits, not just long balls, which manager Bob Melvin appreciated.

"We know we can hit some homers, but when we win games like this, it's good," Melvin said. "We have to be able to win games without the homers."

We all dig the long ball, sure, but during the team's recent home series against the Houston Astros, it appeared that's all the Green and Gold could do. The A's were swept in three games, and scored just seven runs while hitting six homers. You do the math.

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During the three-gamer in Anaheim, however, the A's tallied 19 RBI with 32 hits and just two home runs. And in the series finale, the team took advantage of the Halos' three errors.

The A's also were led by Mike Fiers, who tossed six strong innings with no walks and struck out five. He gave up a homer to Mike Trout, but that's to be expected against one of the game's greats.

Astros vs. A's lineups: Khris Davis activated off IL, batting fourth

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USATSI

Astros vs. A's lineups: Khris Davis activated off IL, batting fourth

OAKLAND — The A's will get a big boost in their lineup Saturday night as reigning MLB home run champion Khris Davis returns from a left hip/oblique contusion. Oakland reinstated Davis from the 10-day injured list earlier Saturday and optioned outfielder Skye Bolt to Triple-A Las Vegas.

"He's one of the better power hitters in the game, so it's nice to get him back," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Davis. "From a mental standpoint for the team as well, it's a big pick-me-up, so it's nice to have him back."

Davis will serve as the A's designated hitter and hit in the cleanup spot as Oakland faces Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros. Davis has had tremendous success against Verlander throughout his career, going 6-for-11 with four home runs and a double.

Matt Chapman moves up to the two spot and Matt Olson will bat third. Robbie Grossman drops to the six hole and Mark Canha comes out of the starting lineup.

The A's will counter Verlander with veteran left-hander Brett Anderson. The 31-year-old enters the game with a 6-3 record and a 3.86 ERA. He faces a Houston lineup still missing All-Stars José Altuve, Carlos Correa, and George Springer.

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Astros game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 7:07.

Houston Astros (38-20)
Myles Straw, LF
Alex Bregman, 3B
Michael Brantley, DH
Yuli Gurriel, 1B
Josh Reddick, RF
Robinson Chirinos, C
Jack Mayfield, SS
Tony Kemp, 2B
Jake Marisnick, CF

Justin Verlander, RHP (8-2, 2.38 ERA)

Oakland A's (29-28)
Marcus Semien, SS
Matt Chapman, 3B
Matt Olson, 1B
Khris Davis, DH
Stephen Piscotty, RF
Robbie Grossman, LF 
Jurickson Profar, 2B 
Ramón Laureano, CF 
Josh Phegley, C

Brett Anderson, LHP (6-3, 3.86 ERA)
 

Mark Canha continues Khris Davis impression in A's win vs. Mariners

Mark Canha continues Khris Davis impression in A's win vs. Mariners

OAKLAND — Make no mistake, Mark Canha is not Khris Davis. But, he sure can do a pretty good Khris Davis impression.

Canha homered for the third straight game Friday night, his sixth round-tripper in nine contests since returning from a sprained wrist, as the A's beat the Mariners 6-2 for their seventh consecutive win.

"It always helps when somebody gets on a hot streak," Canha said after the game. "It always helps when you have that one guy where you're like, 'Yeah, he's up!' That kind of happens for different guys at different times and I think it just happens to be right now. This is me kind of knocking on wood and hoping I can keep it going."

Before the game, the A's officially placed Davis on the 10-day injured list with a left hip/oblique contusion. With the reigning home run-champion out of the lineup, Oakland desperately needed someone to fill the void.

Enter Canha.

"I guess you could say it's timely," Canha said of his hot streak. "It's good that I'm filling his shoes. I'm just trying to be Khris Davis right now and this is my best version of it."

A's manager Bob Melvin has certainly taken notice of Canha's recent power surge and hopes to see it continue in Davis' absence.

"It's a lot of homers," Melvin marveled. "If you're looking for a replacement for Khris, that's the guy. He feels good at the plate. He's getting good swings, he's seeing some pitches, taking some walks. It's good, really good."

Friday also marked Canha's third straight game as the A's designated hitter. Many players struggle in that role, at least initially, as it can be challenging to stay mentally sharp between at-bats.

Clearly, that has not been the case for Canha.

"I really like it," he said. "I like not having to run out there on the field. It's nice to just kind of hang out in the dugout and wait for my at-bat to happen. I'm enjoying my time as a designated hitter so far."

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It's not like Canha is just hitting home runs. The 30-year-old has raised his on-base percentage to .353, third-best on the A's, and his .953 OPS leads the team and ranks seventh in the American League. 

"I'm in my fifth year now and I think I'm just getting better," Canha said. "I've learned a lot in my career and now I'm being given some time, and I think I'm just getting better as I've matured as a hitter."