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A’s use unusual rally, long ball to sweep past Astros

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Matt Chapman, seen here September 6, struggled in the field on Thursday and is headed for an MRI. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

OAKLAND — Thanks to a bizarre sixth-inning rally and a quartet of resounding home runs, the Oakland A’s capped their four-game sweep of the Houston Astros on Sunday afternoon at the Coliseum.

“I’m not saying it was unexpected,” manager Bob Melvin said. “But the fashion that we did it was pretty impressive.”

In the 10-2 throttling of the Astros, the A’s pushed ahead for good in the sixth — a frame which saw Houston starter Dallas Keuchel deliver four walks — two of which came with the bases loaded — and also hit Mark Canha to bring in a run. The lefty ended up throwing 40 pitches despite retiring just two outs.

The A’s had opened the scoring in the fifth when Chapman sent a towering home run off the green batter’s eye that hangs below the center-field suites.

The only damage against Kendall Graveman came half an inning after Chapman’s majestic homer when an Alex Bregman single briefly evened the score, 1-1.

On the way to producing six innings of one-run ball, Graveman surrendered five hits and walked a pair while striking out three Astros.

Healy tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh, booming a 426-foot home run into the left-center field bleachers. The homer was Healy’s 24th of the season and his first since Aug. 22.

An inning later, Boog Powell and Matt Olson also checked in with two-run shots. Olson’s 417-foot blast, his 17th, landed in the plaza deck, well beyond the right-field wall.

Graveman was thrilled to be pitching behind an offense that keep adding on.

“In a sense, they don’t know any better,” Graveman said. “It’s like, ‘Hey, let’s go play ball, let’s give it our best effort.’ And at the end of the day, good, bad or ugly, we’ll learn from it and we’ll grow and we’ll move on”

Melvin remains in awe of his young A’s, in particular his first baseman.

“I mean, Olson, I’m still trying to come up with some adjectives for what he’s done,” Melvin marveled. “But they do feed off each other. These guys really, really play for each other. They support each other and they pull for each other really hard.”

With the four-homer barrage, the A’s now have 208 big flies — fourth-best in team history.

“There’s a lot of real unity in the dugout, in the clubhouse that maybe we haven’t seen here in awhile because it is a group of guys that have played and there’s something to that,” Melvin said.


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