OAKLAND -- Moments after connecting for his second home run of the night, an opposite-field beauty that mirrored the first, Khris Davis downplayed a stream of questions about himself -- as the A's mighty slugger tends to do -- and offered this reminder: "We have some work to do.""There's not
OAKLAND -- Moments after connecting for his second home run of the night, an opposite-field beauty that mirrored the first, Khris Davis downplayed a stream of questions about himself -- as the A's mighty slugger tends to do -- and offered this reminder: "We have some work to do."
"There's not a better feeling in the world," Davis would also say, after ending the game with his Major League-leading 45th homer. Yet the man yearns for more, and his team is within grasp of just that.
Not even a bullpen meltdown could mute these resilient A's, who inched that much closer to a postseason berth with a late push at the Coliseum. It was Mark Canha who belted a pinch-hit, two-run homer that tied the game in the sixth, and Davis who delivered the final blow, a walk-off solo shot for a 7-6 series-opening win over the Twins on Friday night.
"M-V-P!" chants were heard 'round the Coliseum as Davis rounded third base, removed his helmet and sent off his signature jump shot before landing on home plate, his giddy teammates pouncing on him.
There is no shortage of boppers on this team, but Davis, his power so prodigious, undoubtedly tops them all. His 119 RBIs are second-most in the Majors, and no other player has as many home runs since the start of 2016 (130).
"He's our guy," Canha said. "I don't know how many walk-off home runs he's hit since he's been here, but I think we all felt on the bench he was gonna do that. Somebody mentioned, like, 'I got a good feeling about this.'
"Obviously he's awesome for us on the field, and he's an awesome teammate. We love the heck out of him. Gosh, what do you say? I'm at a loss for words. He does that, though. He does things that just leave you speechless. It's crazy."
The A's magic number dropped to three with their third straight win, though they remained 1 1/2 games behind the Yankees for the top American League Wild Card spot following New York's win against the Orioles. They also sit 3 1/2 back of the first-place Astros in the AL West with eight to play.
Davis ignited the A's to an early two-run lead with home run No. 44 to top his previous career best, padded by a pair of sacrifice flies from Jonathan Lucroy and Marcus Semien.
A four-run lead typically signifies riches for a sturdy Oakland bullpen, yet it vanished under the watch of Lou Trivino and Shawn Kelley in a damaging sixth -- negating a fine four-inning effort from Chris Bassitt following opener Liam Hendriks' scoreless stint.
The A's, though, quickly emerged from a 6-4 hole on Canha's career-high 17th home run in the home half of the inning to break even, allowing for the dramatics that unfolded in extras following important work from Ryan Buchter, Jeurys Familia and closer Blake Treinen, who picked up the win with two scoreless innings while lowering his ERA to an MLB-best 0.83.
"I love those moments," Canha said. "I wasn't thinking about hitting a home run. I was just trying to have a good at-bat, but when something like that happens it just gets the blood flowing a little bit. It's a lot of fun."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Trivino, at times working without his typically devastating movement this month, appeared off yet again, yielding four consecutive hits and departing without recording a out. Jake Cave greeted him with a resounding double, and Robbie Grossman smacked the next pitch for a two-run homer. Trivino was offered two more batters, each collecting singles to force him out of the game.
Kelley's first batter, Ehire Adrianza, laced a two-run, game-tying double to right, and the right-hander, still eying runners on second and third, nearly pivoted around further disaster by getting each of his next two batters to weakly fly out. That's when the A's opted to intentionally walk Joe Mauer, despite the first baseman striking out in each of his first three at-bats, and Jorge Polanco made them pay with a go-ahead, bases-clearing double.
Trivino has allowed a combined eight runs over his last four outings, a troubling trend for a reliever these A's have come to rely on so heavily.
"He's just having a little tough time right now," manager Bob Melvin said. "Just looked like the ball was pretty straight today. He's struggled a little bit, and it's going to happen over a course of a season and we have a lot of faith in him."
Davis has 22 career multi-homer games, including seven this year.
HE SAID IT
"You look at his numbers and what he's meant to this team, he definitely needs to be in the conversation." -- Melvin, on Davis' AL MVP candidacy
The A's will have right-hander Mike Fiers (12-7, 3.38 ERA) on the mound for Saturday's 6:05 p.m. PT tilt with righty Chase De Jong (0-1, 3.68) and the Twins at the Coliseum. The A's have won all but one of Fiers' eight starts since he joined them in August.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.