OAKLAND — Khris Davis lived up to his nickname when he “Khrush”-ed two solo home runs in the Oakland A’s win Friday night — one a 424-footer to the opposite-field, and the other just shy at 394.
Behind Davis’s bat and and some stellar starting pitching, the A’s beat the struggling Kansas City Royals, 7-2, for a second straight victory, at the start of what is shaping up to be a promising 10-game homestand.
“I tell you what, that first one, that’s just a line drive to right field — and it goes out,” manager Bob Melvin said of Davis’ first home run. “We’ve seen him do some great things, everybody in our dugout was amazed at that one. … Anybody else, it’s probably a two-hopper to the wall and a double. It’s spectacular power, is what it is.”
Davis’s first drive left the bat at 112.5 mph, and had a launch angle of just 20 degrees.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy added, “I mean, look, I’ve seen some home runs in my life, and when we’re talking about going opposite-field on the line like that, I mean, that doesn’t happen a lot unless your last name is Judge or Stanton.”
On the mound, A’s starter Frankie Montas threw a gem, going 7 2/3 innings (96 pitches) while giving up six hits and two earned runs — on a late, two-out, two-run homer by Mike Moustakas that chased him in the eighth. Before that, Montas retired 16 batters on three pitches or fewer, throwing good-quality strikes and had great movement on his sinking fastball.
Friday was Montas’ third start for the A’s this season after throwing 32 innings for the team as a reliever in 2017 He was called up in late May with the A’s rotation getting thin, and he’s won all three of his starts. Since his call-up, his ERA is a measly 1.25.
Montas, when asked if he could have seen this breakthrough coming, said “no” but added that he’s always trusted and believed in himself.
Of his starting pitcher, Melvin said, “Coming up out of a need and doing what he’s been doing is fantastic. It’s been not only needed but impressive.”
He added, “He’s always had it in him; it’s finally coming to fruition.”
Lucroy liked how Montas pounded the zone and was, again, aggressive in going after batters. He joked that he calls Montas’ stuff “effectively wild,” but said that the pitcher has a great mentality out on the mound.
“It’s been great for him to come up and do this,” Lucroy said. “It’s been a lot of fun to be behind the plate for him.”
A number of other A’s bats helped pile on the runs. Center fielder Dustin Fowler showed he’s got some pop, hitting a solo shot in the third inning. He, like Davis, was 2-for-4 on the night. Lucroy added a single, a double and three RBIs. Shortstop Marcus Semien (batting sixth for the second-straight night) went 3-4 with two runs, two singles and a triple. He’s 5-for-8 in the series thus far.
After Montas exited the game in the eighth inning, Oakland trotted out reliever Emilio Pagan, who gave up a walk and a double. He was pulled in favor of Lou Trivino, who got a ground out to take the game into the ninth, where he then got a ground out and two strikeouts to bring the game to a close.
Overall, it was a championship-type of night in Oakland as the Golden State Warriors won their third NBA title in four years. With Oracle Arena full of 18,000 fans right next door to the Oakland Coliseum, the Warriors’ score was shown on the A’s scoreboard throughout the game, eliciting loud cheers from fans. Before the game, Melvin had predicted that the Warriors would win “around 8:30 or 8:45.” He was right.
“Congratulations to them, amazing run that they’re on,” Melvin said. “Doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon, so we’re all excited about that.”