OAKLAND — With the final swing of the home season, Mark Canha summed up how the A’s played all summer at the Coliseum.
Canha wasn’t even sure what kind of pitch he hit for a walk-off home run over the left-field fence in the bottom of the ninth to secure a 6-5 victory over the Mariners. He just saw a pitch he liked from reliever Shae Simmons and swung.
“It was a fun way to end it,” he said.
And appropriate, manager Bob Melvin added, alluding to the A’s 11th walk-off win this season, the eighth by a home run, and the second by Canha.
The A’s had dropped the first two games of this series, and Robinson Cano’s two-run homer in the eighth inning tied this one after Oakland led the whole afternoon in front of 13,132.
“We’ve been consistent at home all year. To get swept in the last series at home would have been pretty disheartening,” Melvin said. “And, of course, we wanted to win for our fans on the last day.
“Cano’s homer takes a little wind out of our sail. We had to get up. To do it in dramatic fashion like that, fans like that.”
The A’s, last in the AL West, nonetheless wrapped up a 46-35 home ledger and clinched their first winning month of the season. With a 15-10 record in September, Oakland closes the season with four games in Texas beginning Thursday.
The only thing that didn’t go the A’s way on Wednesday was starter Kendall Graveman missing the chance to win back-to-back outings for the first time since April. The club’s Opening Day pitcher left with a 5-3 lead after six innings but did not get a decision after Cano’s game-tying blast against reliever Chris Hatcher.
Graveman, who battled shoulder problems for three months in the middle of the schedule after a strong early season, assembled a 2.14 earned run average in his final four starts of the season.
Against the Mariners, he threw 99 pitches on a warm afternoon, hurt mostly by Nelson Cruz, his personal nemesis. Cruz had an infield hit in the second, then scorched a line-drive, two-run homer just inside the left-field foul pole in the fourth. He is now batting .636 (14 for 22) lifetime against Graveman.
But Graveman was encouraged by the way his season concluded.
“The injury was tough on me mentally and tough on me physically,” he said, referring to a three-month stretch where he had a 5.67 ERA in 11 starts. “After that I thought I settled. The last month, month-and-a-half has really been positive going into the offseason.”
Canha, a 28-year-old native of San Jose, was 0 for 8 in this series before his game-winner.
“It’s been an up and down season for us as a team and for me, personally,” he said. “I was having a rough series up to that point. Nice to cap it off with that for sure.”
Canha said the walk-off wins haven’t come by accident.
“We’re playing with a lot of energy. These young guys, they bring a lot of energy and intensity and fun to the ballpark,” he said. “When you have that kind of attitude of never panicking no matter what the score says, that’s the right attitude to have.”
* Pitcher Liam Hendriks was honored before the game with the 2017 Dave Stewart Community Service Award, given to an A’s player for his charitable contributions.
Hendriks works with a couple groups to address poverty in the Dominican Republic, and designed a “K” poverty T-shirt to benefit the cause. He also pledged $100 per strikeout and $200 per walk to the program, which by itself has added up to more than $12,000.
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