Home Run Happy: A’s stay hot in June with 6-3 win over the Royals

The Oakland A’s Matt Olson (28) gets a forearm bash from teammate Elvis Andrus (17) after hitting a fifth inning home run against the Kansas City Royals at the Oakland Coliseum Sun Jun 13, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND–The 2021 A’s don’t miss many opportunities. When an opponent comes in limping, the A’s make sure they don’t get medical attention.

The A’s improved to 9-2 in June by defeating the Royals 6-3 on Sunday at the Coliseum. The A’s got big afternoons from their biggest names–Matt Olson and Chris Bassitt–in drubbing Kansas City, losers of 8 of 9 and 24 of 38 after an exemplary 16-9 start to their season.

Olson homered twice to back Bassitt, who pitched into the sixth inning, allowing five hits and two runs to win his seventh, consecutive decision. Bassitt survived a scary moment when he was hit by a batted ball and found himself face down on the turf in pain. Trainer Nick Paparesta and manager Bob Melvin nervously approached Bassitt, but the A’s ace popped up slowly and didn’t need to leave the game.

“It hit me in the perfect spot. That may sound weird,” Bassitt said. “It didn’t affect me at all.”

The Royals didn’t affect Bassitt much either. Nicky Lopez, who delivered the batted ball to Bassitt’s side also had an infield hit for an RBI single. An inning later, in the third, Andrew Benintendi touched Bassitt for a solo shot to close the A’s lead to 3-2. But Bassitt cruised from their and departed in the sixth due to his elevated pitch count, which hit 104.

Kris Bubic surrendered both of Olson’s home runs and one to Matt Chapman. That had the lefty headed to the showers in the fifth, trailing 5-2. The former Stanford pitcher has allowed nine home runs in his last four starts, after not allowing any over his first six starts of the season.

The A’s improved to 40-27 on the season, and maintained their two-game lead on the second-place Astros in the AL West. Hot Anaheim visits the Coliseum starting Monday with six consecutive wins under their belts. The Angels reside in third place in the division, but have climbed above .500 for the first time this season at 33-32.

Dylan Bundy faces the A’s Sean Manaea in the series opener at 6:40pm on Monday. Bundy failed to win any of his first 10 starts of the season, falling to 0-6, before he won his most recent start at home against the Royals. Manaea has thrown 15 innings in June, winning both of his starts via shutout while allowing just six hits.

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