by Charlie O. Mallonee
After a team destroys their opponents 16-0 the night before, there can be a tendency for a club to come out in the next game and be incapable of putting any runs up on the board. After the Kansas City Royals scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning on Saturday afternoon to take a 2-0 lead, it looked like game two of this three-game series might be one of those games.
The situation became grimmer in the bottom of the second inning when the Royals added to their lead. With two out in the inning, Ryan Goins laid down a bunt in front of the plate. Catcher Bruce Maxwell fielder the ball cleanly and make a quick throw to first for a “bang-bang” out. Well, wait just a minute. The Royals decided to challenge the call. Video replay in New York overturned the call on the field and Goins was called safe at first.
Now with two out and a runner at first, shortstop Alcides Escobar stepped into the batter’s box to face A’s starter Trevor Cahill. Escobar hit the first pitch to him off the fence in right field for an RBI-triple as Goins was able to come home and score easily from first base.
That brought leadoff man Jon Jay back to bat. Jay led the game off with a single and eventually scored the first run of the game. Jay – the Royals DH – hit the 1-1 pitch through the hole on the left side of the infield for a double. Escobar was able to trot home to score the fourth run of the game for Kansas City. When the second inning was over, the Royals led the Athletics 4-0.
The Athletics bounced back in the top of the third when Marcus Semien hit a one-out double to left-center field. After Matt Joyce struck out, Jed Lowrie singled to right field driving Semien home for the A’s first run of the contest cutting the Royals lead to 4-1.
The A’s went right back to work in the fourth inning. With one out and Fowler at first, Piscottty doubled to left field. Fowler blew through third base coach Matt Williams stop sign and was thrown out at home. Maxwell singled to left-center field drivng Piscotty home for the A’s second run of the game.
Bruce Maxwell led off the top of the seventh inning by hitting a 3-1 Jason Hammel pitch over the center field wall for his first home run of the season. The Athletics had cut the Kansas City lead to 4-3.
In the top of the eighth inning, the A’s received some bad news when Matt Joyce had to exit the game due to an injured back. Matt Olson led off the inning by hitting a single to left-center field. Olson advanced to second when Chapman grounded out. Chad Pinder entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Fowler. Pinder singled up the middle sending Olson home to tie the game at 4-4.
With one out in the home-half of the eighth inning, Jorge Soler hit his ninth home run of the season over left field wall to give the Royals a 5-4 lead. It would prove to be the game winning hit.
On the Hill
- Trevor Cahill was charged with a season-high four runs (all earned) on a season-high seven hits in a season-low 4.2 innings. Not a combination of stats that a starting pitcher would like to post. Cahill is winless in his last 13 road starts with a 6.46 ERA. His last road win was on August 20, 2016 in Colorado. He did strike out six Royals and walked two.
- Emilio Pagan pitched 0.1 of an inning.
- Danny Coulombe pitched 1.0 inning of relief allowing no hits while striking out two and walking one.
- Yusmeiro Petit closed out the game for Oakland pitching 2.0 innings giving up one run (earned) on one hit – the home run to Soler. Petit was charged with the loss and is now 2-2 on the season.
Kansas City (21-37)
- Jason Hammel – the Royals starter – remains winless in his last six starts. He exited the game with a 4-3 lead but Oakland tied the game and Hammel no longer could figure into the decision. Hammel gave up three runs (all earned) on seven hits (one HR) in 6.0 innings of work. He struck out three and walked two.
- Kevin McCarthy – worked the seventh inning giving up no hits and walking one.
- Tim Hill – had a very intersting game. He was charged with a blown save (BS, 1) he gave up the tying run in the top the eighth inning. However, Hill was the pitcher of record when Soler hit the game winning home run, so he received the win to up his record to 1-1 for the year.
- Kelvin Herrera – entered the came in the top of the ninth to go for the save. Herrera – who has an 0.79 ERA – worked a perfect inning striking out one and earning 13th save of the season in 14 opportunities.
In the Batter’s Box
Athletics (4th-place AL West 6.5 GB)
- Bruce Maxwell – the A’s catcher was really the man with the bat today in Kansas City. Maxwell went 2-for-3 in the game scoring a run and posting two RBI. One of Maxwell’s hits was his first home run of the season.
- Jed Lowrie – appears to be benefiting from having Khris Davis back in the lineup for protection. Lowrie went 2-for-5 with an RBI.
- Chad Pinder – recorded his 13th RBI of the season.
- The A’s went 3-for-6 with Runners In Scoring Position
- Oakland had nine hits (four strike outs) and left six runners on base
Royals (5th-place AL Central 9.5 GB)
- Jon Jay – the Royals leadoff/DH went 2-for-4 on Saturday. His leadoff single in the bottom of the first inning was his 14th of the season. He is now hitting .305 for the year. Jay also collected his 16th RBI of season in the game.
- Jorge Soler – hit his ninth home run of the season and it was the fifth time one of his home runs has given the Royals the lead. It was also his fourth home run in eight games.
- The Royals went 2-for-7 with Runners In Scoring Position
- Kansas City collected eight hits and struck out 10 times. They left nine men on base.
On Sunday, it will be the “rubber game” of the three-game series. The Athletics will send RHP Daniel Gossett (0-3, 6.05 ERA). He is 0-2 since rejoining the A’s from Triple-A on May 23rd. The Royals are going to start RHP Jakob Junis (5-4, 3.61 ERA).