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A’s win first home series of season as Chavez dazzles

The A’s didn’t do it in the fanciest way, but for the first time this season, Oakland won a series at home, coming out ahead in their homestand against the Yankees with a 3-0 shutout win Sunday afternoon.

Jesse Chavez hurled a gem, striking out six while allowing no runs or walks over eight innings. He has been a monumental asset in Oakland’s rotation, lasting eight innings in consecutive appearances for the first time.

This story has been updated with post-game quotes and additional material from the A’s clubhouse.

Correction 12:31 p.m.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly described this series win as Oakland’s first of the season. This is Oakland’s first home series win of 2015. The A’s won a series 2-1 in Houston April 13 to 15.

Now posting a 2.11 ERA and 1.04 WHIP on the season, Sunday was Chavez’s lone home win of the season despite several solid outings this year.

Chavez said:

“First couple of innings, I fought myself a little mechanically. Just wasn’t getting down the hill, guiding some pitches and it led to some trouble early one. After the second inning, just had to slow everything down. I got ahead of myself, a little quick in the first two. Vogt slowed me down a little bit and that was the big key.”

His 110 pitches Sunday also marked a season high, his previous start included 106 pitches thrown.

Chavez (W, 2-5, 2.11 ERA) had been the tough luck loser in three of his seven starts, allowing two runs or fewer versus the Angels, White Sox and Tigers, yet still saddling the loss. He’s done it in stride, too, his team-first attitude covering any disappointment with his individual stats.

Melvin said:

“It wears on you. You keep going out there knowing that you have to put up zeroes. And you have to keep your focus, it keeps you that much more locked into what you’re doing. The two run homer felt like a five run homer. … He’s pitched so well, it’s great that we could finally reward him.”

His backing came in the sixth inning on a looping home run hit by Stephen Vogt that got some help from the wind blowing out to right field.

Photos by Jeffery Bennett/SFBay

Billy Burns was on third after his third single of the game also stealing second and third base in succession. The two runs were all Oakland and Chavez needed, though Burns scored once more after Vogt hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield.

Melvin said:

“I’ve been talking about him for awhile now. For a 0-0 game like that, you have to take some chances and try and get someone in scoring position. In this game it didn’t look like anybody had a chance to score for awhile and then we get a runner on. All of a sudden he’s on second, all of a sudden he’s on third. Now you get a chance to get a cheapie.”

Burns was asked to steal second, but was on his own stealing third, seemingly without much effort. Said Burns:

“I was just in sync out there. I though to myself, ‘alright, I’m going to try and get into scoring position for Zobrist so a sacrifice fly scores me, or the next guy.”

Vogt’s home run made the stolen bags obsolete on paper, though Vogt doesn’t see it as the true value. Vogt explains:

“It’s been amazing. What he’s done at the top of the order, it’s been huge. And the havoc he causes on the base paths. I think what people don’t realize is that he affects the pitches being pitched to us when we’re hitting when he’s on base. Because they’re always worried about him.”

Yankees starter Adam Warren (L, 3-4, 3.75 ERA) took the loss, and Tyler Clippard earned the save.

The A’s are excited about their off day Monday, but will begin a series at Detroit on Tuesday and then head to Boston for a weekend series before returning to Oakland.

Shooter in the house

Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson was in attendance Sunday, and visited with the A’s players after the game. He was a clear hit, conversing with Marcus Semien and Josh Reddick in Oakland’s clubhouse.

A day earlier, Stephen Curry took the family to a Giants came, to which Reddick said on Twitter:

Clearing the air, Reddick followed up after Sunday’s game with this:

Clearly, Thompson helped clean up the wound. Melvin said:

“He’s very well received at this point. Wearing green. Awesome.”

Thompson is set to open in the NBA Finals against  the Cavaliers on Thursday if he can pass the NBA concussion protocol following a knee to the head in the Western Conference Finals-clinching win against the Rockets.

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