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Davis, A's outslug Blue Jays, reward Gray

July 16, 2016

OAKLAND -- Khris Davis belted a pair of homers, Ryon Healy hit his first and Sonny Gray won for the first time in nearly three months on Saturday, as the A's hung on to beat the Blue Jays, 5-4, at the Coliseum.Toronto starter R.A. Dickey allowed all three A's home

OAKLAND -- Khris Davis belted a pair of homers, Ryon Healy hit his first and Sonny Gray won for the first time in nearly three months on Saturday, as the A's hung on to beat the Blue Jays, 5-4, at the Coliseum.
Toronto starter R.A. Dickey allowed all three A's home runs, including two in the second inning. Davis hit the first of his solo homers and Healy wrapped a three-run shot around the foul pole in left for his first Major League hit, giving Oakland a 4-2 lead. Dickey settled down to retire 12 of the next 13 batters before Davis hit a towering shot to right field in the sixth, giving the A's a 5-3 lead.
"The ball he hit to right-center, you can probably [count] on one hand that many guys who can hit the ball that far to right field," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Davis' second homer, which traveled 431 feet according to Statcast™. "It looked like a golf ball, it kept getting smaller and smaller."

Ryan Madson allowed a Justin Smoak homer to open the ninth, but the A's closer retired the next three hitters for his 19th save of the year.

Davis has hit three homers in his last two games, showing no ill effects from a sore left shoulder that hampered him heading into the All-Star break, and he leads Oakland with 22 homers. Dickey lost for the 10th time this season, while Toronto dropped its second straight to open the second half of the season.
"We're playing some good ball, and that break was just a breath of fresh air," Davis said. "[I'm] just catching my second wind and enjoying it."
Gray, meanwhile, won for the first time since beating these Blue Jays on April 22, allowing three runs over six innings. He labored early, needing 53 pitches to finish the first two innings, but recovered following Edwin Encarnacion's third-inning homer to blank the Jays over his final three innings.
Healy helps his cause: Healy, who was called up Friday and went 0-for-4 in his debut, hit a 366-foot homer to left, according to Statcast™, showcasing some of the power that helped him reach the Majors this year after beginning the season in Double-A. The rookie went 2-for-4, with his single in the seventh an RBI hit before a call at home was overturned, taking a run off the board.

"Not only is your first hit special, but to hit a three-run homer and to be so impactful as the game went along, it was pretty impressive," Melvin said. More >
The Edwing: Encarnacion picked up right where he left off in the first half by leading off the third inning with a solo home run to left-center field. According to Statcast™, Encarnacion's 24th homer of the season traveled a projected 416 feet, and it left his bat at 105 mph. Encarnacion's 81 RBIs rank first in the Majors, while his 24 home runs are the third most in the American League. Smoak later cut the lead to one in the ninth, but by that point it was too little, too late.

"They got to [Dickey] early, and I didn't think he had a whole lot of break early on," Gibbons said. "Then he found that groove and settled in pretty nicely. We came back and pulled within a run there, but couldn't get anything else done."
A welcomed sight: Gray was mired in a seven-game losing streak, posting a 6.16 ERA over his last 12 starts in what has been a difficult season for the righty. His struggles to finish innings flared up in the second, when he allowed a two-run double to Blue Jays catcher Josh Thole and then gave up a long homer to Encarnacion to open the third. Gray allowed just one Toronto runner into scoring position from that point on, before turning it over to his bullpen after six innings.

"I don't think it's any secret things [haven't gone] as you would hope for the majority of the year," Gray said. "I think after the second inning, it was just a thing, like, 'Stop fighting myself.' ... Hopefully I can take those last four innings and go forward with it." More >
Thole time: Thole entered this game with a .141 average, but he picked a good time to come through with one of his rare extra-base hits. With two runners on in the second, Thole hit a sharp liner to the corner in right field off Gray. Two runs came around to score on the catcher's first double and second extra-base hit of the year. That gave the Blue Jays an early 2-0 lead, but Dickey gave it all back and then some in the bottom half of the frame.

"I've made a tweak and some adjustments," Thole said. "I feel comfortable right now, so you try to ride it as long as you can. Stay on my routine and kind of go from there. Four or five days, and in those days I'll keep working. I feel good. I need to keep that. I need to keep that same feeling."
Healy's three-run shot in the second inning was the first three-run homer that Dickey has surrendered this season. This was the 11th time in Dickey's career and second time this season that he has allowed at least three home runs in a game.
• Homer-prone Dickey not worried
It appeared A's shortstop Marcus Semien scored in the seventh, sliding into home to beat a throw home from Toronto left fielder Michael Saunders, but the call was overturned following a Blue Jays challenge that showed Semien never touched home plate. The A's then challenged that Thole blocked the plate, but the out call stood following another review.

"It happened so fast," Thole said. "It was pretty bang-bang. I didn't know if he got to home plate. He hit my foot and my shin guard. That was the question, and then watching the replay you could tell. Really good throw."
Blue Jays: Left-hander J.A. Happ (12-3, 3.36 ERA) gets the call when the Blue Jays wrap up their three-game series against the A's in a 4:05 p.m. ET start on Sunday afternoon at Oakland Coliseum. Happ has a chance to set a new career high in wins at 13, and he's coming off a first half in which he tossed 12 quality starts.
Athletics:Rich Hill takes the mound at 1:05 p.m. PT in Sunday's series finale at the Coliseum. The 36-year-old has been the subject of plenty of trade chatter in recent weeks, and he was initially scheduled to start Friday before being scratched due to a blister on his left middle finger. Hill (9-3, 2.25 ERA) said the blister healed, and he doesn't anticipate any issues with it Sunday.
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Mark Chiarelli is a reporter for based in the Bay Area.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.