A’s offense absent again as the Mariners sweep at the Coliseum

By Morris Phillips

AP photo: The Oakland A’s pitcher Raul Alcantara put out a much better start but couldn’t get in the win column against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday at the Oakland Coliseum

OAKLAND–Raul Alcantara was all over the place in his big league debut on Labor Day.  He left a far more focused and lasting impression on Sunday, but it didn’t result in a win as the A’s were swept by the Mariners, losing 3-2.

No A’s pitcher had walked three guys and committed a balk in a game in the team’s history in Oakland.  In fact, the churning record books revealed that the embarrassing feat hadn’t been done since 1930 when Howard Ehmke had a meltdown.

Ehmke’s poor game came at the end of a 16-year big league career, and less than a year year after he started Game 1 of the World Series and struck out 13 in a complete game win, then considered a stroke of genius by manager Connie Mack to start a nearly forgotten veteran who hadn’t pitched in more than a month leading up to Game 1.

For Mack, the decision to start Ehmke was one of the biggest moves of his legendary managerial career.  For Ehmke, it was redemption for an aging pitcher that had a solid, but below-the-radar career to that point.

After winning the Series that year, the A’s brought Ehmke back for the 1930 season, but after his meltdown performance, he was released less than two months into the season.

While Ehmke’s meltdown was his swan song, the A’s maintained that Alcantara’s was beginner’s nerves for an emerging pitcher that had figured it out at the minor league level after a brief, but eye-popping stint at AAA Nashville.  On Sunday, the organization’s instincts proved correct in Alcantara’s six plus innings of work in which he allowed seven hits and was hurt only by Mike Zunino’s two-run homer in the second inning.

“I think his stuff his really, really good, it’s definitely an indication of what we thought and what I thought coming into this week it would be,” catcher Stephen Vogt said.

It may have been Vogt’s decision to throw Zunino a second slider in the at-bat that may have been a bigger mistake than Alcantara’s in throwing the pitch.  Even to that point, the Dominican pitcher had shown his fastball-change combo was electric, according to Vogt.  Afterwards, Zunino said seeing the slider a first time allowed him to react quicker to it the second time.

The hanging slider was crushed, ending up in the left field seats, more than 400 feet from the plate.

But the rest of the afternoon would be partially frustrating for Mariners’ hitters who compiled 12 hits, but couldn’t come up with the big one in a game that remained tied 2-2 from the second inning to the ninth.

In the ninth, Zunino struck again with a leadoff double, and Ketel Marte delivered the winning run with a single off Ryan Madson scoring pinch-runner Ben Gamel.

Offensively, the A’s had another frustrating afternoon, compiling six singles and Brett Eibner’s RBI triple in the second inning.  The A’s as a team have the second lowest batting average in the American League, and had scored just 39 runs in their previous 14 games before Sunday.

The Mariners have won five straight, while the A’s fell to a season-worst 22 games below .500.

On Monday, the A’s travel to Kansas City with Ross Detwiler facing the Royals’ Dillon Gee.

BUTLER RELEASED: The A’s parted ways with designated hitter Billy Butler before Sunday’s game, a surprising move given that he had nearly $10 million remaining on his contract for the remainder of this year, and next.  But Butler continued his regression at the plate that surfaced at the conclusion of his lengthy career in Kansas City, hitting .258 with 19 home runs in 236 games in Oakland.

Did Butler’s physical confrontation with teammate Danny Valencia in the team’s clubhouse last month factor into the decision?  The A’s say no, but it’s hard to believe that given the team’s emphasis on chemistry after last year’s team was considered less than cohesive.





The A’s have released Billy Butler

by Jerry Feitelberg

AP photo: Oakland A’s Billy Butler hits a sacrifice fly for an RBI off the Boston Red Sox in this Sep 2nd photo is now without a team

Oakland, Ca- The Oakland A’s have announced that they have released Designated Hitter, Billy Butler. The club still owes him 11.67 million dollars on his contract. The move signals that the A’s are in total rebuild mode. Look for other moves later after the season ends.

There has been speculation that the clubhouse altercation with Danny Valencia in August was a factor in the decision, but Butler remarked that it was a non-issue. Butler had a poor year in 2015 hitting just .251. He had 15 homers and 66 RBIs. This year, Butler was used primarily against left-handed pitchers. His average was .276, and he had just four dingers and 31 ribbies on his stat sheet this year.

Many people were shocked last year when the A’s signed Butler to a three-year, thirty million dollar deal last year. He numbers were on the downside in Kansas City and for a team with limited resources as the A’s,  the news of his signing was shocking. They made a mistake, and now they have to take their lumps as Butler is no longer a member of the A’s.

A’s Update: the clubhouse fight; Butler to DL; both players fined

Butler Valencia

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The details are now coming out on the clubhouse fight between Billy Butler and Danny Valencia on Friday night in Chicago. Apparently, it was just as advertised. Butler told a shoe representative that Valencia was not wearing the brand named spikes in games that he is paid to wear, and Valencia took exception to Butler involving himself in his endorsement deals.

The situation deteriorated and yelling turned into a fight. Reports have Butler taking a punch off the side of his head that has now brought on concussion like symptoms. Butler was kept out of all three games in Chicago over the weekend. He would normally have been the Designated Hitter on Saturday and Sunday against left-handed starting pitchers.

The bottom line is that it appears Butler was stepping in on Valencia’s business and possibly affecting Valencia financially. Players get paid for wearing certain shoes, gloves, batting gloves, etc. As with most people, Valencia did not appreciate someone messing with his money. Does that make hitting a man on the side of his head and possibly giving him a concussion justified? No, of course not, but it does become more understandable.

A’s general manager David Forst told the media prior to the Cleveland game on Monday that both players have been fined undisclosed amounts. Forst said nothing about suspensions for the players which means none are probably forthcoming.

Butler has been placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list which means he will have to pass testing and be cleared by MLB before returning to play, so seven days off is a minimum. Infielder Arismendy Alcantara has been recalled from Triple-A Nashville to take Butler’s place on the roster.

Valencia is not in the lineup for the Monday night game with Cleveland but the Indians are are starting a right-hander on the mound for game one.

This situation is just another pothole on what has been a very rough road that has been the A’s 2016 season. Flare ups happen in every major league locker room and most go unreported because they end without injury. In this case, the flare up became a case of unacceptable workplace violence. Both players are very lucky they are highly paid athletes and not a couple of analyst working side-by-side in cubicles. If they were analyst, they would be unemployed tonight.

Report: The battlin’ A’s may be back – Butler and Valencia “scuffle”in clubhouse


butler  valencia

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Multiple reports have the A’s Danny Valencia and Billy Butler involved in a clubhouse scuffle on Friday night in Chicago. The reported altercation resulted in possible injuries to Butler that kept him out of the games with the White Sox over the weekend.

The first report of the altercation came from the San Francisco Chronicle. Jane Lee of MLB.com reported she had received confirmation of the confrontation between the two players.

A’s manager Bob Melvin told reporters on Saturday that Butler would be unavailable to play due to nausea and vomiting not related to the flu. Butler would normally been in the lineup at DH both Saturday and Sunday as the White Sox started left-handed pitchers.

Valencia started the game on Saturday night versus the White Sox and kicked off a mini-rally by hitting his 15th home run of season to lead off the ninth inning. He did not play on Sunday.

The Chronicle did ask Valencia about the incident on Sunday and he responded, “No comment. What happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse.”

USA Today is reporting that the incident started when Butler told a shoe representative that Valencia was not wearing the cleats that he claim to be wearing.

Butler and Valencia were teammates in Kansas City in 2014 and then were reunited last season in Oakland.

Valencia has been with six different teams in his seven years in the major leagues. The rumors that have followed him have been that he is not a good teammate or that he is difficult to get along with in the clubhouse.

Eric Hosmer of the Royals would appear to disagree with that assessment:

Coco Crisp of the A’s seems to be in agreement with Hosmer:

Hosmer is a former teammate of Butler and Crisp is a current teammate and neither had any comment about the Designated Hitter.

There will certainly be more to this story and we will bring it to you as it breaks. It will be interesting to see who is in the lineup tonight for the Athletics. Cleveland is planning on starting the right-handed Carlos Carrasco so Butler would not be the starting DH.

A’s drop another one in Cleveland, Overstreet gives up three home runs

Kipnis konnects

By Morris Phillips

Surrendering hard hit balls in play, including three that cleared the fences, made Saturday’s lesson in baseball’s finer points a particularly tough one for Dillon Overstreet.

The fast-rising rookie who has excelled throughout the A’s minor league system was promoted for the third time this season, a nice reward for a 24-year old who has big league talent, if not at this point, big league chops.

Overstreet’s biggest issue with missing pitch locations was plastered over Cleveland’s scouting reports and brought home by his Oakland coaches entering his outing at Progressive Field. Miss, and like his struggles in his first three major league starts, home runs could result. That aspect of Overstreet’s game cropped up early on Saturday, while he was warming up.

“I could tell a little bit in the bullpen I wasn’t as crisp as I was when I was up here a couple weeks ago,” Overstreet said. “I could tell I was just a little off. Obviously it went into the game.”

Overstreet went on to surrender five runs on 10 hits, and he was removed in the fourth inning of the Indians 6-3 win over the A’s. The A’s have dropped the first two games in Cleveland, after winning two of three games in each of their previous three series.

As manager Bob Melvin explained afterwards, Overstreet was over the plate and the Indians, with just one home run hit in their previous six games, in turn went over the wall. Melvin got specific, saying his rookie pitcher needed to bust hitters inside with pitches just tantalizingly off the plate, then build on that with swing and miss strikes away. Instead, the hyped-up Overstreet was in between and elevated on home runs hit by Jason Kipnis and Jose Ramirez, the second and sixth batters of the night.

With the game tied at 2 in the fourth, Abraham Almonte hit a 442-foot bomb off Overstreet. It was Almonte’s first home run of the season, a sign that the Cleveland outfielder knew what to look for and where against Overstreet. In four starts, Overstreet has now given up nine home runs, a number that likely will insure he makes his next start at AAA Nashville, not with the A’s. According to Melvin, Overstreet appears to lost some confidence after allowing so many round trippers.

Josh Tomlin did the job against the Oakland offense, holding the A’s to six hits and two runs in seven innings of work. The veteran pitcher got a nice assist from Almonte, who threw out Bruce Maxwell at second base trying to stretch a single in the fifth.

Billy Butler and Marcus Semien hit home runs for the A’s, with Semien’s coming with two outs in the ninth inning and the A’s trailing by four. Butler’s tied the game in the fourth inning, and may have fired up the Indians.

A couple of pitches before Butler connected, he and Cleveland catcher Chris Giminez had words about some of the verbal jockeying Giminez was doing in attempts to influence umpire Tripp Gibson. The jawing continued as Butler flipped his bat before rounding the bases, and Gibson got between the players as Butler crossed the plate.

The Indians’ response came in their next at-bat with a four-run outburst that chased Overstreet, and effectively put the game away.

On the trade front, rumors persist regarding Josh Reddick and Rich Hill, even as Hill was placed on the disabled list with his blister issue that forced him from his last outing after just five pitches.   Billy Burns, however, was moved on Saturday, traded to the Royals for outfielder Brett Eibner. Both Eibner and Burns are currently playing at the AAA level.

On Sunday, Sonny Gray goes for the A’s, attempting to win for the second time on the road trip. Corey Kluber will pitch for the Indians with the first pitch at 10:10am.

“Country Breakfast” delivers late in A’s third straight win over the Rays

Madson save
Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Ryan Madson, right, is greeted by catcher Bruce Maxwell, left, at the end of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. Oakland won the game 3-2. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND–No, the baseball season doesn’t start on July 15, but, yes, the A’s are playing well.

Looking to turn dismal into respectable, the A’s took a big step forward on Sunday, beating the Tampa Bay Rays for the third consecutive day, 3-2, with Billy Butler’s eighth inning home run registering as the difference.

The A’s have won seven of 10 since the All-Star, with all 10 at the Coliseum. Oakland opens a three-game series at Texas on Monday, the first of 12 games remaining with the AL West leaders, nine of those at Arlington, Texas. The A’s remain in fourth place in the division, 12 games behind the Rangers.

Jesse Hahn returned to the big club, and pitched 7 2/3 innings—the second longest start of his career—departing with a 2-0 lead after allowing just four hits. Hahn’s outing impressed manager Bob Melvin, who cited the rigorous program his big right hander undertook at AAA Nashville in order to regain his form of last season.

But Hahn’s impressive outing turned into a no-decision just four pitches after his departure, as rookie Ryan Dull, who had allowed just two earned runs in his last 26 innings pitched, faltered. After starting Kevin Kiermaier with a called strike, Dull threw wild pitches on his next two offerings, allowing Kiermaier to advance to second, then third. Dull’s fourth pitch turned into a no-doubt homer to Logan Forsythe that tied the game.

“I just wanted to get a fastball in and I didn’t execute it,” Dull said. “Could have went with to the slider because we had the base open, maybe a better matchup against Miller. But you can’t second guess yourself anymore, just goes down as I didn’t execute the pitch I needed to.”

When Dull returned to the dugout, Hahn came to him to console the reliever, who admitted he was downcast at having given away the team’s lead and the starter’s opportunity to grab a win. But right after Hahn executed that classy move, Butler changed the narrative with his lengthy blast off reliever Erasmo Ramirez.

Already without Stephen Vogt and Josh Reddick, the A’s were without Coco Crisp as well, due to a reoccurrence of his neck issues. That left the A’s with a makeshift lineup with Jake Smolinski in center field, Danny Valencia (for the first time) in right field, and rookie Ryon Healy hitting sixth. Rookie Bruce Maxwell made his first big league start, catching Hahn, but went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. With all the injuries, catcher Matt McBride was the team’s only positional reserve.

For Butler, the tie-breaking shot could rank as a high point of the designated hitter’s season of relative inactivity.  A career-long designated hitter and first baseman, Butler hit just his third homer of the season. “Country Breakfast,” a mainstay with the Royals for years, has hit 144 home runs at the big league level.

Butler’s shot allowed the team to avoid exposing their lack of depth, and a lengthy ballgame on getaway day. Ryan Madson came on to pitch a perfect ninth inning, striking out the final two batters of the ballgame.

Rookie Daniel Mengden will start for the A’s in Arlington on Monday, opposed by the Rangers’ Martin Perez. Mengden is still looking for his second major league win with his record sitting at 1-5.

Pirates beat the A’s 6-3 to sweep the series


MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Oakland Athletics
Photo Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

By Charlie O. Mallonee

OAKLAND–The Pittsburgh Pirates completed a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics on Sunday with a 6-3 victory. The A’s finished their five-game homestand with a record of 1-4. Their record at home dropped to 17-26 for the year.

The A’s took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning of the game. Daniel Mengden was pitching well and it appeared that A’s might be on their way to breaking the losing streak. The Pirates came back and tied the game in the top of the fifth inning.

The Athletics scored a run and regained the lead 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning raising the hopes of the fans that a win was coming on Sunday. The Pirates brought eight men to the plate in the sixth inning and scored two more runs to go back in front of the A’s 4-3.

The Pirates tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the eighth inning when David Freese hit a two-run home run over the right field wall to make the final score 6-3 in favor of Pittsburgh.

Francisco Liriano (5-8) was the winning pitcher. The loss was charged to Daniel Mengden (1-4). Mark Melancon picked up his 24th save of the season.

In the Batter’s Box

Coco Crisp went 2-for-5 for A’s with a RBI. The two hits extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Both of his hits were singles. Crisp’s average is now .247.

Khris Davis had a good afternoon working as the Designated Hitter. Davis went 2-for-4 including a double and a run scored. Davis now has 11 doubles for the year.

Billy Butler got the start at first base today and had some success at the plate. Butler hit a double that was good for a RBI in second inning. In that same inning, Butler scored a run for the A’s.

The A’s scored three runs on 10 hits. They left seven men on base and were 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. The A’s had four extra base hits – all doubles.

DH Gregory Polanco was the man at the plate for the Pirates on Sunday. Polanco went 2-for-4 with two RBI. He leads the Pirates with 47 RBI.

David Freese who came into the game a pinch hitter in the sixth inning and remained in the game hit his eighth home run of the year in the eighth inning. It was a two-run shot into the right field stands.

Adam Frazier had a 2-for-4 game that featured a double and a triple. Frazier had two RBI and scored a run for the Bucs.

The Pirates scored six runs on 11 hits. They left nine men on base and were 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.


On the Bump

Daniel Mengden – one of the A’s rookie young guns – started the game on Sunday looking for his second victory of the season. Things started off well for the man with the classic mustache. He did give up a hit in each of the first three innings but he also struck out three batters while allowing no runs. The A’s staked Mengden to a two-run lead and it looked like Oakland might be on their way to breaking their three-game losing streak.

Things fell apart for Mengden in the fifth inning as he gave up two runs on two hits. The Pirates were aided by a walk, a hit batsman and fielder’s choice that turned into a run.

Things continued to go downhill for Mengden in the sixth inning as the Pittsburgh scored two more runs on just two hits including a RBI triple by Adam Frazier. Mengden also issued two more walks in the inning and did not finish the frame. Marc Rzepczynski and Liam Hendriks came in to close out the inning.

Mengden worked 5.1 innings giving up four runs (all earned) on seven hits. He struck out five batters and walked four. Mengden threw 99 pitches (65 strikes).

As if things are not going bad enough for the A’s, relief pitcher Fernando Rodriguez took the mound in the top of the eighth inning and had to exit the game after facing one batter. Manager Bob Melvin said it appears to be a shoulder strain. Rodriguez will have a MRI done on the shoulder. Melvin indicated that a trip to the disabled list is a possibility.

Francisco Liriano had one of his better outings of his recent starts. Liriano sat the side down in order in the first inning before giving up two runs on three hits in the second inning. He then settled down and had another one, two, three-inning in the third. After giving up a run on three hits in the fifth, Liriano’s day was over for the Pirates.

Liriano gave up three runs (all earned) on six hits in 5.0 innings on the mound. He struck out two and walked one batter. Liriano threw a total of 88 pitches (53 strikes).

In the Field

The A’s did not commit an error in the game on Sunday. That extends the A’s errorless streak to nine games.

Coco Crisp had a busy day in center field as he recorded four put outs.

Tyler Ladendorf made a very nice play on ground ball off the bat of Adam Frazier in the eighth inning. Ladendorf had to slide to his right on the outfield grass to field the ball and threw the ball from a seated position to throw Frazier out at first.

Game Notes

The A’s have placed catcher Josh Phegley on the 15-day disabled list for a strained right knee. Oakland now has nine players on the disabled list. The team has used the DL 18 times this season … Catcher Matt McBride has been called up from Triple-A Nashville to take Phegley’s place on the roster. This is McBride’s third call-up to Oakland this season. He has appeared in eight games for the big club and is batting .222.

The A’s challenged a call at first in the top of the fourth inning. Starling Marte hit a ground ball on the right side of the infield that was fielded by A’s first baseman Billy Butler. Butler underhanded the ball to pitcher Daniel Mengden covering the bag. First base umpire Gerry Davis called Marte safe. The fan who had six beers and had only one eye opened sitting in the upper deck jumped out of his seat in disbelief. It took the replay officials in New York only 54-seconds to overturn the Davis call and declare Marte out.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was ejected from the game in bottom of the sixth inning of the game by home plate umpire Sam Holbrook. It appeared the ejection was for arguing ball and strike calls.

Up Next

The A’s will close out the unofficial first-half of the season with a seven-game road trip. They will travel tonight to Minneapolis where they will play three games with the Twins. Oakland then travels to Houston where they will open a four-game series on Thursday with the Astros before heading home for the All-Star Break.

The probables for the series with the Twins are:

Mon 7/4 RHP Kendall Graveman (3-6, 4.84) vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco (3-6, 5.31) 11:10 PDT

Tue 7/5 LHP Sean Manaea (3-4, 5.40) vs. LHP Tommy Milone (0-2, 6.23) 5:10 PDT

Wed 7/6 RHP Sonny Gray (3-7, 5.42) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (2-7, 4.50) 10:10 PDT

The losing streak is over, A’s beat Reds 6-1

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Cincinnati Reds
Marcus Semien hits a two-run home run Photo Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics went into the game on Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds needing a win in the worst way. Losers of seven consecutive games, the A’s were in danger of going 0-8 on an eight game road trip. The psychological damage to the team by going winless on the road trip could have devastating effects for the rest of the season.

Not only did the A’s have to battle a losing streak, they had to battle the weather. The Midwestern summer has come early and it was 89-degrees with 55-percent humidity at game time. That made it feel like the temperature was 96-degrees. The Athletics are not used to playing in those conditions.

The A’s found their power and used the long ball with men on base to take an early lead that they never relinquished but only added to as the game progressed. Oakland had to pitch by committee due to the weather and because they were playing an Inter-league game in a National League park where the pitchers had to bat. They played the game like a team that knew they had to win the game.

In the batter’s box

Marcus Semien started off the scoring for the A’s in the top of the second inning when he hit a 3-1 pitch from John Lamb over the left field wall with Billy Butler on base to give Oakland a 2-0 lead. It was Semien’s 12th home run of the season. He finished the day going 2-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored.

The A’s scored two more runs in the second inning when Jake Smolinski hit his second home run of the year off Lamb with Josh Phegley on base. Smolinski’s home run gave the A’s a 4-0 lead at the time.

Danny Valencia joined the home run derby when he hit a solo shot into the left field seats in the top of the eighth inning off reliever A.J. Morris to give the A’s a 5-1 lead.

The A’s manufactured a run in the top of the ninth when Khris Davis hit a line drive single to center that allowed Coco Crisp to score the sixth run from second base.

Khris Davis had a 2-for-5 game with the insurance RBI.

Billy Butler continued to be productive at the plate going 3-for-3 with a run scored. The A’s have been waiting all season for Butler to catch fire.

Jed Lowrie stayed hot with the bat going 3-for-5 in the game. Lowrie’s average now stands at .303.

The A’s scored six runs on 15 hits with eight runners left on base.

The Reds only run came in the bottom of the second inning when outfielder Steve Selsky scored off catcher Ramon Cabrera’s double to left field. Kendall Graveman was on the mound for the A’s.

The Reds scored one run on seven hits and left six men on base despite the A’s having to use five different pitchers in the game.

On the Mound

Kendall Graveman started the game for Oakland on Sunday. Graveman entered the game with a 2-6 record and had really been struggling in last several starts. Graveman pitched well but succumbed to the weather very quickly. Graveman pitched to one batter in the fifth inning but had to come out of the game. He worked 4.0 innings giving up one run (earned) on seven hits while striking out five and walking two batters. Because Graveman did not work five innings it was up to the official scorer to assign the win and Graveman was given a no decision for his 4-plus innings of work.

Fernando Rodriguez came on in the top of the fifth for Graveman and pitched two perfect innings of baseball in relief. For his efforts, Rodriguez was credited with his second win of the season.

John Axford, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson each worked a perfect inning of relief for Oakland on Sunday. Axford and Doolittle were impressive as they were throwing pitches in the high 90’s. For Madson, it was his first work on the mound since his appearance in Houston seven days ago.

John Lamb (1-4, 5.14) took the loss for the Reds even though he only pitched four innings. Cincinnati used four pitchers in their losing effort.


The key on defense for the Oakland Athletics was the fact they did not commit an error in the game. Not only did they play errorless baseball, the A’s turned three double plays that all killed potential scoring opportunities for the Reds.

The Reds did not commit an error in the game.

Up next

The A’s will have no time to rest and celebrate their victory. Oakland heads back into action on Monday night as they open a four-game home series with the Western Division leading Texas Rangers. The Rangers are 8-2 in their last 10 games and have won two games in a row.

LHP Sean Manaea (2-4, 6.20) will take the mound for Oakland. The Rangers have yet to officially name their starter although speculation centers on LHP Cesar Ramos who is a long reliever and spot starter.


Oakland Falls To Kansas City 6-4 In Rematch of 2014 AL Wild Card Game

Oakland Athletics' Ike Davis hits a sacrifice bunt for an RBI during the second inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Friday, April 17, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Oakland Athletics’ Ike Davis hits a sacrifice bunt for an RBI during the second inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Friday, April 17, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

By Kahlil Najar

Kansas City – In what is turning out to be a legitimate rivalry the Kansas City Royals beat the Oakland Athletics 6-4 in Oakland’s first return to KC since the heart breaking loss in last years AL Wild Card game. Sonny Gray escaped a loss however he gave up a career high 11 hits to the Royals and gave up four runs.

Dan Otero suffered his first loss of the year as he gave up two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Royals their eighth win of the year. Royals rookie Paulo Orlando hit his fourth triple of the year in the bottom of the inning that secured the victory for Kansas City.

“I missed my spot by probably 18 inches trying to come hard in,” Otero said. “Just came back over, outside corner.”\

Tempers started to flare in the top of the seventh inning when on a routine ground ball to third, Brett Lawrie slid into second to try and break up a double play but ended up sliding into Royal’s second baseman Alcides Escobar and injuring his left knee. Both benches cleared but after a few minutes order was restored and Escobar was helped off the field with a mild sprain of his left knee.

“No one’s trying to hurt anybody,” Lawrie said. “In the sixth or seventh inning, in a tight ballgame, no one’s trying to hurt anybody there. It wasn’t like I overextended myself to go get him. He was right on top of the bag. That’s just baseball,” said Lawrie on his slide.

Stephen Vogt had him a nice night as he went 3 for 4 with a pair of home runs and two RBI. This was Vogt’s first ever two home run game. Ike Davis also hit a home run in the top of the fourth for his first career home run as an Athletic. Billy Butler, in his return to his former club grabbed a hit and extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

The Royals will send Yordano Ventura to the mound tomorrow against Jesse Hahn who is making his third career start for the A’s. Game time 4:10 PT.