“I couldn’t have drawn it up any better,” Chapman said. “Hitting my first home run, getting another one, and winning the game with a walk-off in that kind of fashion. It was a good game altogether.”
For his first homer, Chapman connected on a 2-1 cutter from Kluber and drove the ball to left-center, sending the ball a projected 409 feet, according to Statcast™. Chapman then came up in the fifth and went the other way on an up-and-in pitch, blooping a two-out double into right field. He would score on Rajai Davis‘ single to tie the game at 2-2.
At 98 pitches, Kluber came back out to pitch in the eighth, and Chapman led off the inning with a bang, launching the first pitch to center for a game-tying home run. Statcast™ projected the blast at 455 feet, the third-longest homer of the season for the A’s, with a 109.8-mph exit velocity.
“Not everybody can do that,” Davis said. “Kluber’s a great pitcher. He’s got nasty stuff, and just all around I was excited for Chap to see him put great swings against a great pitcher.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin added, “If there’s anybody that you could consider a guy that would give him a tough time, it would be this guy today. I know confidence-wise, it will go a long way for him.”
It’s a welcome sight for the rookie, who has had a tumultuous month since making his Major League debut June 15. Chapman played a big part in the A’s sweeping the Yankees in his first four games, but then hit the disabled list for two weeks with an infection in his left knee that including four nights in the hospital.
After returning July 3, Chapman struggled, going 2-for-24 in seven games before the All-Star break. But Friday night, he went 1-for-3 with a triple and scored on a wild pitch before Saturday’s onslaught, which could go a long way for Oakland’s No. 4 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com.
“When you get to the big league level, there’s an adjustment period, and like every classification level he’s been to, he’s fought through the adjustment period and done his thing,” Melvin said. “There’s been a little bit of a period now, and now you’re seeing what everyone’s so excited about. That’s a huge night for him.”
Chapman added, “It’s been a crazy month — I didn’t even know it had been a month. From playing, to the hospital, to the ups and downs, it’s been a crazy month, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”