Clutch hitting and pitching lead Royals past A’s 2-0

Kansas City Royals’ Brad Keller pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the fifth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on Sat Jun 17, 2022 (AP News photo)

By Daniel Dullum
Saturday, June 18, 2022

Timely RBIs by Ryan O’Hearn and Whit Merrifield provided all the offense the Kansas City Royals (23-41) would need Saturday to compliment a quality pitching performance at the Coliseum, as the Royals blanked the Oakland A’s (22-45) 2-0.

The win was the third in a row for Kansas City before an announced crowd of 10,936, who saw the A’s lose their eighth straight home game. It was also the Royals’ third straight road win.

It was a tough loss for Cole Irvin (2-4), who threw 6 1/3 strong innings. Irvin surrendered one run on three hits, walked two and struck out six.

The Athletics’ bullpen – Domingo Acevedo, Zach Jackson, A.J. Puk and Dany Jimenez – combined for six strikeouts, two walks, and gave up one run on four hits over the remaining 2 2/3 innings.

Brad Keller (2-8), Jose Cuas and Scott Barlow combined for a two-hit shutout. Keller struck out six, walked three and retired the first 17 batters he faced until giving up a two-out double to Jonah Bride in the bottom of the sixth. It was Keller’s first win since May 3.

Barlow struck out one in a scoreless 1 1/3-inning effort to earn his eighth save.

With one out in the Kansas City seventh, Michael A. Taylor tripled to left center and scored with when Acevedo surrendered a double to O’Hearn, who was pinch-hitting for Emmanuel Rivera.
Going into Saturday’s game, O’Hearn was hitting .546 with a home run and three runs batted in as a pinch-hitter this season.

The Royals made it 2-0 in the ninth when Kyle Isbel was hit by a Puk pitch, was sacrificed to second and scored on Merrifield’s base hit to left-center.

Luis Barrera had the only other Oakland hit, his fifth double of the season.

The Royals will go for the sweep on Sunday, with Brady Singer (3-1, 4.24) on the mound, facing Oakland’s Jared Koenig (0-2, 11.25). Game time is 1:07 p.m.

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