OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)Matt Chapman and Matt Olson like to joke they don’t usually hit home runs the same days.
When they do, the Oakland Athletics are extra powerful.
Chapman cleared the fences twice and Olson also connected to help Sean Manaea finally earn his first victory of 2020, and the slugging A’s beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1 on Thursday night.
With a pair of homers high into the left-field bleachers, Chapman left manager Bob Melvin in awe.
”I kind of surprised myself there a little bit. I don’t know if I’ve hit a ball like that since the minor leagues,” Chapman said. ”It felt good to drive a few balls today that felt like I wasn’t trying too hard to do that. It just kind of happened.”
Chapman hit a solo drive in the first and a two-run shot in the eighth. Olson added a two-run homer in the fourth for the AL-best A’s (18-8), who have their best record over 26 games since the 1990 club began 20-6. Oakland has an eight-game home winning streak.
Chapman notched his sixth career multihomer game and second this season, also doing so Aug. 10 at the Angels. He has been working on his timing.
”I don’t know if it’s the ball, I don’t know if the players are stronger, I don’t know if the bats … I don’t know,” Melvin said. ”But two balls that go way up in the upper deck in left field does not happen.”
Manaea (1-2), who lost the AL wild-card game last fall after a 4-0 September coming back from shoulder surgery, allowed one run on five hits in 5 1/3 innings. He won in his sixth start after reaching five innings for the first time all season his last time out against San Francisco.
Eduardo Escobar homered in the fifth for Arizona and Manaea gave way to J.B. Wendelken after Ketel Marte’s one-out single in the sixth. Arizona lost a second straight after a six-game winning streak.
Khris Davis doubled among his two hits as designated hitter against a left-handed starter, meaning Robbie Grossman’s hot bat was on the bench. Davis will play again Friday.
”At some point in time it’s going to break for him,” Melvin said of Davis, whose 48 homers in 2018 led the majors.
D-backs lefty Alex Young (1-1) was done after four innings allowing three runs on four hits in his second start and ninth appearance.
The D-backs lost for only the fourth time in their last 12 at AL parks.
”I thought we had a couple of opportunities, maybe just some mishits or some situation where we couldn’t really get the pitch we were looking for to cash some things in,” manager Torey Lovullo said. ”But they were very limited.”
A’s first base coach Mike Aldrete was away from the club as his home is threatened by wildfire, Chapman said. The smoke and haze became worse in the ballpark as the game got later.
Sure, the A’s hit lots of home runs as one of baseball’s best power clubs – they also lead the majors with 259 strikeouts.
”It doesn’t matter to us. We’ve got the best record in the American League, that’s what matters,” Chapman said.
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When it comes to comparing the dangerous Diamondbacks to the deep A’s, Chapman notes, ”As Marcus Semien likes to say, `They drive nice cars, too.”’
Diamondbacks: LHP Andrew Chafin, placed on the 10-day injured list with a left middle finger sprain Wednesday, traveled back to Phoenix to be examined by team doctors and a hand specialist. He was injured Monday against the A’s but didn’t initially realize the severity of the discomfort he initially felt on a pitch to Robbie Grossman. … LHP Madison Bumgarner, on the injured list with a mid-back strain, threw a 30-pitch bullpen and ”he’s on to the next step,” Lovullo said. … RF Kole Calhoun drew a nine-pitch walk in the seventh but had much of the day off with Arizona in a stretch with 17 straight games before a day off Aug. 31. Lovullo wants to give his regulars a rest when possible.
LHP Robbie Ray (1-2, 8.59 ERA) pitches for Arizona as the Diamondbacks move across San Francisco Bay for a weekend series with the Giants. RHP Mike Fiers (2-1, 5.96) takes the mound for the A’s when the Angels come to the East Bay from their series at San Francisco.
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