ANAHEIM -- Khris Davis hoped his father's presence wouldn't be a distraction Thursday night. As it turned out, the A's outfielder made sure of it by hitting his 17th home run of the season to help his club to a 5-4 win over the Angels.Davis' solo shot off Angels reliever
ANAHEIM -- Khris Davis hoped his father's presence wouldn't be a distraction Thursday night. As it turned out, the A's outfielder made sure of it by hitting his 17th home run of the season to help his club to a 5-4 win over the Angels.
Davis' solo shot off Angels reliever Deolis Guerra with one out in the fifth inning capped the scoring for the A's and proved to be the difference in the game.
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Marcus Semien got things started with a three-run homer off Tim Lincecum in the second inning, as Oakland showed signs of pop after averaging only two runs per game in its last 12 contests.
It was the first time this season Davis got to play in front of his father, Rodney, the senior manager of Major League Baseball's Urban Youth Academy in Compton. Rodney made the relatively manageable drive to Angel Stadium, fighting rush-hour traffic and arriving just in time to watch his son take batting practice.
"Just spending time with my son, getting a chance to spend time with him is a great blessing," Rodney said. "I love it like that. It's great to see him play, but just to be around him and connect and hear from him and talk to him, that's what's special about it for me."
For Khris, the special part is simply pleasing dad.
"I know he's proud of me and happy to see me doing what I want to do," Khris said. "That's most important. I definitely know he's proud of me. I just go out there and play for the love of the game and for my teammates. I think that's what he enjoys most, is that his son is a team player and then a baseball player."
While some might be wary of their father's presence in any workplace, Khris said it's easy to block out all the outside distractions.
"It wasn't too bad," he said. "By now they know because I've told them a few times, 'Hey, let me go to work.' I'm working. They understand. I like to black out and not think about what's going on around me."
With his team-leading 17th homer of the season, Khris raised his total since last Aug. 6 to 37, second only to Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion (38) over that time.
Davis also leads Oakland with 46 RBIs and looks comfortable in his first season with the club. The A's acquired him in a February trade with the Brewers for a pair of prospects.
"I suspected it was going to be a really good deal for him," Rodney said. "There's men on this staff that I really respect and I have a long history with professionally and personally. So now that he gets an opportunity with this group of people, I can see how that's been good for him and his growth as a baseball player."
Khris will have three more games playing in front of his dad this week, with Rodney planning to attend all four games against the Angels. It's precious time between father and son. For the rest of the season, they'll communicate sporadically with text messages and phone calls.
"When he needs me, he knows that I'm there," Rodney said. "But he's really self intelligent. He trusts his process. I've allowed him to be his own man for a long time in life. I'm just here to support that."
**Austin Laymance** is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.