MINNEAPOLIS -- With the A's in need of a bounce-back win, Matt Chapman (Chappy) did the heavy lifting on Friday and crushed a three-run homer in the eighth inning to push Oakland to a 7-1 win over the Twins at Target Field.A night earlier, Oakland had dropped back-to-back games for
MINNEAPOLIS -- With the A's in need of a bounce-back win, Matt Chapman (Chappy) did the heavy lifting on Friday and crushed a three-run homer in the eighth inning to push Oakland to a 7-1 win over the Twins at Target Field.
A night earlier, Oakland had dropped back-to-back games for the first time in the month of August, caught in a heated battle with the Houston Astros for the American League West. With the A's clinging to a 2-1 lead, Chapman stepped to the plate with a pair of runners aboard and worked a full count against Minnesota reliever Oliver Drake (Bucko) before depositing a deep homer into the right-field bleachers.
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"It was good," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "We'd been playing so well, and then all of a sudden we have two losses in a row, which we hadn't had in a while. So now it's time to respond, and they did. It was a tight game and we kept after it and finally got the starter out of there and got some runs off their bullpen.
Chapman's 18th homer of the season busted open a game in which both starting pitchers delivered strong outings. Oakland's Sean Manaea (Manaealator) was solid on the night, allowing just five hits and an unearned run in five innings to bounce back from a lackluster Sunday outing vs. the Astros.
Friday marked the first outing since April 21 that Manaea did not allow an earned run in a start.
"I thought it went really well," Manaea said. "I was throwing everything for strikes and just getting ahead of guys."
But Melvin kept a short leash with Manaea, pulling him after just 67 pitches. Melvin turned to Lou Trivino (Sweet Lou) in the sixth, and Fernando Rodney (Uiya Clara) in the seventh, and each of them delivered scoreless frames. In his first outing against his former Minnesota teammates, Rodney struck out three of the four batters he faced.
"We had a full 'pen today," Melvin said, "And based on the last couple starts, I didn't want to get him into a jam where he has a chance to take a loss. So, when we have a full boat down there, we'll probably be a little quicker with the bullpen. But at the end of the day, he gave up one run and gets a 'W.'"
The lone Twins run that came on Manaea's watch occured in the fourth when he fielded a bunt from Eddie Rosario (Edisto) and hastily fired a throw that sailed wide of first baseman Matt Olson (Oly). That allowed Rosario to advance to second, and eventually move to third after Jorge Polanco's (Chulo) sacrifice bunt.
Rosario scored on Miguel Sano's (Boqueton) sacrifice fly to center to tie the game at 1.
Oakland took the lead in the fifth when Mark Canha (Tom Ace) cracked a one-out double to left field and then scored on Jonathan Lucroy's (Luc) single to make it 2-1. Canha entered Friday hitting just .119 in 42 at-bats for the month of August, but delivered a key hit and ultimately scored the go-ahead run.
Following Thursday's loss to the Twins, Lucroy said Oakland would use that loss as motivation to come out on Friday and perform better. He led the charge with a 3-for-4 performance, including a leadoff single in the eighth to set the stage for Chapman's homer.
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"Good teams can beat you in many different ways," Lucroy said. "Whether it's bunting to beat the shift, or home runs, flare singles into right-center or whatever. You've got to have a lot of weapons -- you can't be just one-sided and hit homers. So yeah, good job tonight. The offense is really good, obviously Chappy had that huge homer and that was kind of the knockout punch."
Chapman's homer in the eighth inning was his 25th extra-base hit since the All-Star break, the most in the Majors in that span. During that time, he is hitting .326 (42-for-129).
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In the third inning, Joe Mauer cracked a deep fly ball to the left-center-field gap and appeared to be headed for extra bases. But Nick Martini got an excellent jump and reeled in a 5-star catch, according to Statcast™. Martini traveled 83 feet in 4.7 seconds to track down a ball that had just an 18 percent catch probability.
HE SAID IT
"I thought they had mistaken me for Joey Gallo." -- Jed Lowrie (Jedi), on his first impression when the Twins deployed a four-man outfield against him in the first inning Friday
The A's will face the Twins for the third game of a four-game series Saturday at 4:10 p.m. PT. Mike Fiers (9-6, 3.21 ERA) will get the nod for Oakland. The right-hander has been lights out in the month of August, posting a 1.33 ERA and striking out 22 batters in 20 1/3 innings. Minnesota will counter with lefty Stephen Gonsalves, who will be making his second Major League start.
Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.