Khris Davis had himself a night on Tuesday. The Oakland A's outfielder slugged three home runs against the Texas Rangers, including a walk-off grand slam to turn a heartbreaking loss into a thrilling victory. The most important thing, as always, is that the A's won the game. But this moment, and indeed the entire night, added up to more than just another victory in the standings. We need to stop and smell the possums, and take a moment and appreciate what Davis did. In case you missed it, here you go:
Here are the five best things about that walk-off grand slam.
1. It was Davis' third homer of the night
I know, I said that already. But here's some history to illustrate how crazy this fact is: According to MLB, this is only the second time in history that a player has hit three homers in a game and capped off that performance with a walk-off grand slam, with the other being Joey Votto in 2012. It's not surprising to hear that such a specific feat is rare, but now you know just how rare.
Furthermore, consider that teammate Danny Valencia just had his own three-homer game on Sunday. Here's what A's info man Mike Selleck has to say about that:
This is the 2nd time in #Athletics history two players had 3-homer games in the same week (Jimmie Foxx and Al Simmons, July 10 & 15, 1932)— Mike Selleck (@MikeSelleck) May 18, 2016
There were a lot of personal firsts involved for Davis as well. This was his first career three-homer game, his first grand slam, and his first walk-off home run (via Baseball-Reference). It probably won't be his last of any of those things, but it's almost certain he'll never experience them all on the same night again. Glen Kuiper said it best in the post-game, with something along the lines of, "You might have 10 more years in the league and not have another night like that."
All three homers traveled over 400 feet, according to Hit Tracker Online, making Davis only the sixth player since 2013 to hit three 400-footers in one game (Valencia also did it Sunday). Davis is now tied for third in the AL with 11 dingers.
2. He bailed out his teammate
We were one out away from not even needing a bottom of the 9th inning at all. The A's led 4-3 entering the final frame, with Ryan Madson coming in to seal the deal. Madson took the mound having converted all 11 of his save opportunities so far, and though he was appearing for the third night in a row he had only thrown 15 total pitches in those previous two outings.
Unfortunately, every reliever blows one now and then, and this time it was Madson's turn. He got the first two outs quickly, but a single kept things going long enough for Ian Desmond to blast one out and save the day for Texas at the last minute. Still, though, Madson has been excellent all year and it's tough to be mad at him -- after all, pobody's nerfect.
That's why it's extra sweet that Davis picked him up. Madson has been there for his teammates every time he's been called on, but this time, in his hour of need, when he was finally, momentarily the weak link, one of them was there for him instead. I believe they call that a team. Madson's reaction to it all only drives that feeling home even further (via Susan Slusser):
"It created a career moment for someone else," said Madson, who compared the win to many his Royals team earned last year en route to the world championship. "An outcome like that was so fun to watch, so in a way, I'm kind of glad that's how everything happened."
3. The Win Expectancy Chart
Of course, just as Desmond's homer came off of Oakland's closer, Davis' dinger came off Shawn Tolleson, the Rangers closer. Madson and Tolleson are tied for the AL lead in saves, and they both blew one in the same game. That kind of rollercoaster makes for a great Win Expectancy Chart, with the odds spiking back and forth with each titanic blow.
Hold your mouse over any spot on the chart to see what event caused each change.
The A's reached 79.9% chance of victory when Danny Valencia's RBI single gave them a lead in the 7th, and they were up as high as 96.6% when Madson recorded the second out of the 9th. But Desmond's homer dropped them down to 17.7%, or about one-in-six. But then! Coco's double in the bottom of the 9th, which moved Vogt to third with no outs, pushed the A's back to a 71.2% chance of victory. They had the tying run gift-wrapped and the winning run in scoring position, but the first out dropped them to 58.2%, and the second out to 26.2%. And then one more swing of the bat bumped them all the way back up to 100%.
4. The jump shot celebration
This was a new one:
Davis said that he'd thought of the idea last year and only now got a chance to use it, but he couldn't have picked a better time. The A's aren't the only game in Oakland, and as you may have heard our basketball team is doing alright these days. I think Stephen Curry and the Warriors would approve.
Ballin'. pic.twitter.com/iIBtYpTMga— MLB (@MLB) May 18, 2016
Going off on a slight tangent here: We love to throw around the term "the next Brandon Moss," usually to describe a late-blooming slugger. But just in terms of what Moss actually became, isn't Davis a pretty good comp? Swings hard and often, misses a lot and racks up strikeouts, but when he hits the ball it leaves in a hurry and he's capable of hitting them in bunches. And then there's the post-game quote, which immediately makes me think of Moss questioning why the A's walk-offs always seem to happen at home:
Wonderful contradiction from Davis "I knew in the back of my head I was gonna get the job done going up 2 the plate, and I surprised myself"— Joe Stiglich (@JoeStiglichCSN) May 18, 2016
5. Adrian Beltre's stare
Let me be clear. I'm not laughing at Adrian Beltre because he lost a heart-breaking game. He is one of my absolute all-time favorite players, between his borderline Hall of Fame resume and the sheer childlike joy with which he appears to play the game. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then really watch him one day. The A's and Rangers have 17 more games left this year, so you'll get your chance. Or just Google his name and you'll surely find some videos of his antics.
He's not all fun and games, though. He's an intense competitor, just like any pro athlete, and here was his reaction to Davis' game-winner:
Here's a GIF of Adrian Beltre staring at Shawn Tolleson, who is walking around the world to escape Beltre's stare. pic.twitter.com/PbWOtHRuyd— Grant Brisbee (@mccoveychron) May 18, 2016
Oh dang. As your attorney I advise that you do not disappoint Adrian in the future.
Okay, there's secretly another reason I included Beltre on this list. There is one thing that he does that I love more than any other, and he did it again Tuesday. I'm not sure if I've ever seen another player do this (surely someone else has?), but Beltre does it all the time, like it's his own signature move. He dropped down on one knee and hit a homer, straight out to center, at night in the Coliseum, for a true distance of 429 feet.
That ball went out and it wasn't even close. Sorry, this post is about Davis, but I just can't believe it every time Beltre does that.
These have been the five best things about Khris Davis' walk-off grand slam. Vote for your favorite below, if you wish. Congrats to A's fan Anthony John Cardoza, who caught the ball and posted his pic on our Facebook page!