Jesse Chavez couldn’t have looked any better.
Chavez (W, 7-12, 3.75 ERA) led the A’s to a win over the Dodgers Wednesday afternoon, allowing only two hits and two runs in Oakland’s 5-2 win.
He sparkled, striking out six hitters over eight innings, inducing flyouts with the help of his outfield, and earning praise from A’s manager Bob Melvin:
“We haven’t really done much for him run support-wise this year. It was good to add a couple runs for him at the end there. … One of his better games of the year against what usually is a really tough lineup to navigate through.”
Chavez threw 116 pitches to Dodgers hitters, and allowed an average one baserunner every two innings. A number of Chavez’s home outings have been dominant, he sports a 2.85 ERA at the coliseum this year, though is only 5-5 after the win.
Run support has been an issue, just not this last outing.
Third baseman Danny Valencia hit into a fielders choice which scored outfielder Billy Burns in the first, a play in which Valencia was initially ruled out on, and would have potentially ended the inning.
Melvin issued a challenge, the replay showing that Valencia beat the throw by a step and a half, making the decision easy for replay officials.
Oakland added two more in the sixth inning off of Dodgers starter Travis Wood (L, 8-8, 3.79), a Burns double to center field and knocking in second baseman Eric Sogard, and a Valencia double play ball that sent in Burns giving Oakland a 3-2 lead.
The Dodgers two runs came on a home run from shortstop Jimmy Rollins one a 2-1 count, and a shot over the right field wall.
Rollins, an Alameda native, hit his only other home run at the coliseum while he was 17 years old and still in high school.
The homer was only about 15 feet away from his jack Wednesday, he recalled, though the fact that is was nearly 20 years ago led him to joke about his suspect “old-man” memory.
Oakland added two more runs in the eighth inning, Stephen Vogt pinch hit for catcher Josh Phegley and hit a sacrifice fly which scored Sogard.
Outfielder Jake Smolinski doubled on the next at bat scoring Burns and adding just enough for reliever Drew Pomeranz to record a three hitter save.
Melvin called Pomeranz the A’s closer for the day, though made it clear that he was not willing to say more. Former closer Sean Doolittle, who has missed most of the season with arm injuries, could pitch in the next series according to a source with knowledge the situation.
But Pomeranz, in the day’s role as the ninth inning man, recorded three flyouts from the heart of Los Angeles’ order, outfielder Carl Crawford, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and third baseman Justin Turner.
The A’s swept the Dodgers on a two game series, and despite being effectively eliminated from playoff contention, have been playing solid ball at home since the all-star break.
They have a five game winning streak going at the coliseum, but have also allowed at least one home run in the last 14 games, tempering the results over the last month.
First baseman Mark Canha, who went 4-4 in the first game versus the Dodgers, recorded two more hits Wednesday, his 16th multiple hit game of the year.
Platoon-mate Ike Davis was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday morning, creating room for Smolinksi, and more opportunities for Canha to rake.
Canha joined the A’s during the offseason via the rule-5 draft, and has been hot and cold while not receiving constant at bats.
He’s shown promising talent, though, and the next two weeks could be big ones for the 26-year-old San Jose native.
Valencia, too, has shown enough to displace Brett Lawrie as the everyday third baseman for Oakland, which is ironic since the A’s traded for Lawrie in a deal with Toronto, and then added Valencia after he was designated for assignment from the Blue Jays.
Valencia has a .291 batting average on the year, and though the sample is smaller than most players, has the best clip of any Oakland starter not named Burns.
The A’s begin a three game set against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday evening, which will end Sunday against scheduled starter Jake Odorizzi.
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