MINNEAPOLIS -- Matt Chapman (Chappy) smashed two homers on Sunday to bring his season tally to 20 and lead the A's to a 6-2 win over the Twins at Target Field during Players' Weekend.Oakland had the bats going all afternoon and launched four homers in total to complete a series
MINNEAPOLIS -- Matt Chapman (Chappy) smashed two homers on Sunday to bring his season tally to 20 and lead the A's to a 6-2 win over the Twins at Target Field during Players' Weekend.
Oakland had the bats going all afternoon and launched four homers in total to complete a series win over Minnesota. The A's have now won five series in a row and have plenty of momentum behind them as they head into a three-game series vs. the Astros.:: Players' Weekend presented by Valspar Stain ::
Chapman now has 10 homers since the All-Star break and owns a .348 batting average during that span. He has seven homers in the month of August.
"He's getting good balls to hit now," Oakland manager Bob Melvin. "Any time a hitter goes through a good stretch, they're swinging at good pitches. He's really quickly adapted to laying off some balls away, and I think some of those strike threes you're seeing called on him are balls, too, which are frustrating. But that's allowing him to move the ball over a little bit and get good pitches to hit. He's taken to it pretty quickly at the big league level."
With Oakland's offense backing him, Chris Bassitt (C Bass) delivered a strong spot start and held the Twins to one earned run over 4 2/3 innings. In his first start since July 11, Bassitt struck out three and limited Minnesota to four hits.
"Based on the ball-strike ratio, it was not great," Melvin said. "But he ended up leaving with a lead. It kills me that I have to go get him at 4 2/3 [innings] like that, but with the stakes a little higher where we are right now, and you have to do the best you can, he understands that, too. But he came in and did a nice job for us, because he contributed to a win and ended up pitching the most innings out there today."
He worked his way out of a one-out jam in the second and topped out at 94.9 mph with his fastball. The lone run he surrendered on the day came on Christopher Austin's moonshot homer in the fourth. Bassitt threw 46 strikes on 84 pitches.
"Today was more of a bumpy grind, to say the least," Bassitt said. "The first batter of the game, I was like, 'Ugh.' Thank God we're blessed with a bullpen where I didn't really have to go that deep into a game, but chalk today up as one of those starts that you don't have really anything. You just have to make a couple pitches when they count and hopefully go as far as you can."
Chapman hit a one-out solo home run off of Twins' starter Jose Berrios (La Makina) in the first to get Oakland on the board, then crushed a leadoff homer in the seventh which gave the A's a 5-2 lead at the time. That score didn't hold for long, though, as Jed Lowrie (Jedi) followed with a solo homer of his own.
"We knew going into the game today that we weren't just going to be able to go up there and put up a ton of runs or bang the ball around the park. [Berrios] is a great pitcher," Chapman said. "We know he's got that good curveball, which is a strikeout pitch. So for me, when I got down to two strikes today, I was just trying to battle, and luckily, he left one up."
Oakland taxed Berrios, Minnesota's All-Star right-hander, for three runs on eight hits over five innings. They worked reliever Matt Magill (Goose) for three runs in the sixth and seventh, with Stephen Piscotty (Momo) launching a solo home run as well as Chapman and Lowrie's back-to-back homers. Piscotty's blast was his 18th of the season and capped off a 3-for-4 day that also included a flashy catch in right field in the bottom of the sixth.
Minnesota tried to stage a late rally in the eighth, when it got Max Kepler and Jake Cave in scoring position with two outs against former Twins reliever Fernando Rodney. But Rodney buckled down and got Mitch Garver to ground out to Marcus Semien and end the inning.
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In the bottom of the sixth inning, Piscotty made an excellent catch on Kepler's line drive to right. According to Statcast™, the ball had just a 44 percent catch probability. Piscotty traveled 74 feet while reaching a sprint speed of 27.2 feet per second.
The A's will head to Houston on Monday to begin a crucial three-game set with the Astros, beginning at 5:10 p.m. PT. Brett Anderson (3-3, 3.47 ERA) will get the start for the A's. Last time out, he tossed seven scoreless innings and held the Rangers to one hit on Tuesday. The Astros will counter with Gerrit Cole (11-5, 2.73).
Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.