Rajai rocks Twins as walk-off blast lifts A's

July 30th, 2017

OAKLAND -- hit a two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Twins, 5-4, on Saturday night at the Coliseum and give A's manager Bob Melvin his 1,000th career win as a manager.

"It's a thrilling moment to hit a walk-off home run," Davis said. "I mean, I'm just excited to be able to contribute, let alone hit a game-winning homer. I'm satisfied with today and look forward to tomorrow when that comes, but we'll enjoy it today."

The rally got started in the ninth when pinch-hitter drew a walk. Davis then stepped up and crushed a fastball to left-center for his fourth hit of the game, giving the A's their eighth walk-off win of the season, the most in the American League. It also ended Oakland's five-game losing streak.

"Even in these games we've been losing here recently, we've been in every game," Melvin said. "We've lost some guys out of our bullpen, which makes it a little tougher. A lot of trade speculation going on and so forth. I really commend these guys for fighting like they have every day."

For the Twins, broke out of a 3-for-20 slump in the fifth with a two-run homer to right field off A's starter Chris Smith to make it 4-1. His 24th homer was the highlight of a rough week for Sano, who was hit on the hand Monday and didn't start the next two days before returning to the lineup Friday.

After 's RBI double in the first gave the A's a lead, Twins center fielder punched a two-run single to center in the second, extending his hitting streak to nine games.

Twins starter battled trouble throughout his five innings of work but only allowed two runs. He gave up eight hits, walked two and struck out two.

Minnesota was forced to use Rogers in the ninth because closer was unavailable after throwing 99 pitches in appearances earlier in the week.

"Falling behind there, Davis was ready and that was the ballgame," Twins manager Paul Molitor said.

For the A's, first baseman hit an RBI single in the fifth and rookie crushed a solo homer to left-center in the eighth. On the mound, Smith gave up four runs on seven hits. He struck out four and walked three in five innings.


Smith limits the damage: The first five Twins hitters reached base in the second against Smith, putting two runs on the board and the bases loaded with nobody out. But the 36-year-old was able to get out of it with just the two runs against him with a groundout and two strikeouts.

"That second inning was like duct tape and zip ties," Smith said. "I needed everything I can to get out of that inning, but that's the way it works sometimes. I could've been out in the second inning, but to get three more innings is a positive."

"The guy's got a lot of metal and a lot of grit. He wasn't on the winning side of it unfortunately, but it's not for a lack of some insides," Melvin said. "He's a tough kid. When you go up there with an 86-mph fastball and you're getting people out with a lineup like this that's all left-handers, he's got some good stuff."

Chapman cuts the deficit: Down by two in the eighth, Chapman crushed a changeup from Twins reliever to left-center, bringing the A's to within one. Statcast™ projected the homer at 431 feet with a 110.6-mph exit velocity.


"That's three games this trip we haven't been able to close out. It just goes to show you you can't ever take for granted the value of outs late in games and people that can handle that. We were without Kintzler tonight so just trying to find a way to get through it the best we could." -- Molitor

"It's a bigger number. I was joking in there that Billy [Beane] is coming up on 1,700, which is a real big number. Bill King Day, a lot of things today that make you reflect a little bit. He was such a big part of my youth and him going into the Hall of Fame today. Unfortunately, he was not here to enjoy it and see it. It ended up being a nice day, and to get a win out of it that gets you a round number, it makes it a little better." -- Melvin on his 1,000th win


Melvin is the 64th manager in Major League history to reach 1,000 wins. He's also the ninth active manager to hit the four-digit mark.


In the second inning, the A's challenged that Twins leadoff hitter beat out a throw to first base from catcher . But replay confirmed the call that Dozier was safe.

In the sixth, the Twins challenged that Granite had beaten the throw from Lavarnway to second base and stole the bag, but replay confirmed the call on the field that Granite was out.


Twins: (2-9, 8.00 ERA) starts at 3:05 p.m. CT Sunday for Minnesota in the series finale to mark his return to the Oakland Coliseum for the first time since he last pitched for the A's in 2013. The 44-year-old right-hander is winless in two starts with the Twins.

Athletics: Right-hander will be activated from the disabled list and start at 1:05 p.m. PT Sunday. Cotton takes the place of , whose start was pushed back to Monday night.

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