OAKLAND -- Like most of his teammates, Athletics designated hitter Khris Davis didn't have anything to show for his four at-bats against Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman. Once Gausman exited following a stellar nine-inning outing, things turned around for Davis and Oakland when Baltimore manager Buck Showalter went to his bullpen.Davis
OAKLAND -- Like most of his teammates, Athletics designated hitter Khris Davis didn't have anything to show for his four at-bats against Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman. Once Gausman exited following a stellar nine-inning outing, things turned around for Davis and Oakland when Baltimore manager Buck Showalter went to his bullpen.
Davis clubbed a walk-off, two-run home run off reliever Pedro Araujo in the 12th inning, lifting the A's to a 2-0 win over the Orioles on Saturday night.
"It was a weird kind of vibe out there, kind of slow, boring, not really exciting," Davis said. "But when you walk off it's pretty dang exciting."
There wasn't much excitement for the A's offense before Davis' third career walk-off hit.
The A's had gone eight innings without a hit and hadn't advanced a runner past first base until getting to Araujo in the 12th.
Jed Lowrie, the Majors leader in hits, laced a one-out single to end the drought. Davis followed with a towering two-run shot that sailed over the head of Baltimore left fielder Craig Gentry and into the stands.
That ended a marathon game in which the two teams combined to strike out 31 times -- 20 by the Orioles.
It also marked the first time in A's history that they won a scoreless extra-inning game with a walk-off home run.
"It wasn't the at-bats, it was the pitching today," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It was all about the pitching."
Oakland got plenty of it, beginning with a tremendous outing from starter Trevor Cahill.
The 30-year-old right-hander, who was signed to a big league contract late in Spring Training after a rash of injuries depleted Oakland's rotation, had a career-high 12 strikeouts in six innings and set the tone in a game dominated by pitching.
"Those are fun games to pitch," Cahill said. "Fortunately our staff was able to hold them down a little bit longer than theirs. Those are the losses that are tough but those are also the wins that you can take a lot of momentum from."
Cahill relied heavily on his changeup and was masterful throughout his six scoreless innings while lowering his ERA to 2.25. He retired the first eight Baltimore batters, struck out the side twice and got big punchouts to end threats in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
The 12 strikeouts were two more than Cahill's previous best and one more than he had in his two previous starts combined.
"Trevor was terrific," Melvin said. "The further you get into a game like that, the more the pitchers really have to grind, No one wants to be that guy that gives up the run."
Gausman was even better. He pitched two-hit ball over nine innings, retired 17 of the final 18 he faced and finished with six strikeouts and two walks.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Holding it down: Melvin didn't hesitate going back to reliever Yusmeiro Petit after Cahill left, one day after the right-hander completely unraveled in his brief inning of work. Petit had to pitch out of jam in the seventh after walking two, then ran into trouble again in the eighth but escaped by striking out Chris Davis and getting slugger Mark Trumbo to foul out to keep the shutout going.
Cahill became only the second pitcher in Oakland A's history to have 12 strikeouts and not allow a run in six innings or fewer. Vida Blue is the other and did it April 9, 1971, against the Kansas City Royals.
HE SAID IT
"Trevor's changeup is probably one of the best changeups in the league. I stand behind that wholeheartedly. It's an equalizer for him … and a lot of people have a hard time hitting it." -- A's catcher Bruce Maxwell, on Cahill
The A's will attempt to end their two-year drought against Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb in the series finale Sunday afternoon at the Coliseum at 1:05 p.m PT. Cobb is 4-2 lifetime against Oakland but has been particularly tough against manager Bob Melvin's club the past two seasons, allowing three runs over 18 1/3 innings (1.47 ERA). Oakland counters with right-hander Andrew Triggs (2-1, 5.20) who is trying to get his season back on track following three rough starts.
Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.