The A’s scored 10 runs and pounded out 15 hits on their way to a 10-4 rout of the Royals to win the rubber game of the three game set. Every A’s starter reached base, and nine of the ten players that batted had at least one hit.
A.J. Griffin was not sharp, as he allowed two runs on five hits while throwing 105 pitches in five innings. Luckily, Oakland was able to take advantage of an even less sharp Kansas City’s starter in Luis Mendoza.
The scoring binge started for the A’s in the second inning when Yoenis Cespedes singled and John Jaso walked. Then a double steal put a pair of runners in scoring position for Josh Reddick who lashed a double into the opposite field gap to score both runs, putting the A’s up 2-0. After Chris Young struck out, Eric Sogard doubled, Coco Crisp singled and Jed Lowrie singled to chase Mendoza and extend the lead to 5-0.
Kansas City answered back in the bottom of the second when former Athletic George Kottaras lined a solo home run to right to make it 5-1.
After nearly blowing a 6-run ninth inning lead on Friday, there was a certain level of discomfort with a four run lead. The Royals have a lineup that refuses to quit, having battled back from such deficits on several occasions this season.
The offense kept their foot on the gas though. In the top of the third, Reddick came through again with a runner aboard, this time launching a towering home run over the bullpen in right field. The two run blast pushed Oakland’s advantage to 7-1.
An Alex Gordon home run off Griffin in the fifth made it 7-2, but in the top of the sixth, Jed Lowrie mammoth solo shot of his own made it 8-2 in favor of the Green and Gold. The home run landed in the fountain in left center field at Kauffman Stadium and was measured at 447 feet.
Oakland’s bullpen faltered a bit in the sixth, as Jerry Blevins surrendered a run on two hits with a walk without recording an out. Blevins gave way to Jesse Chavez who entered with a pair of runners on in an 8-3 game. Jarrod Dyson loaded the bases with a single and Miguel Tejada drove in a run on an infield single to make it an 8-4 contest.
So once again Kansas City was trying to battle their way back into this game, but once again the Oakland bats were there to put the screws to any comeback attempt. The seventh inning saw Chris Young reach with two away. That allowed Eric Sogard to come up and club his first round tripper of the season and put Oakland in front 10-4.
Chavez took it the rest of the way on the bump for the A’s, issuing a walk in the eighth and a single in the ninth, but nothing else on his way to his first career save.
The win for the A’s was their 52nd of the season, and had the feel of dominance about it. Every time the Royals maneuvered their way into the game, the A’s put the clamps down on offense — and eventually on defense, too. They did what good teams do to lesser teams, which was refreshing following their debacle on Saturday.
Now it is on to Pittsburgh for the Green and Gold as they look to take a series from one of the National League’s top teams. Oakland’s All-Star Bartolo Colon will face off against Pirates’ southpaw, Jeff Locke.
– I’m doing this a little differently today, opinion style.
Can we stop worrying about how many All-Stars the A’s have, or rather, don’t have? All-Star recognition is nice for individual players, sure. But part of the charm and fun of the A’s is that they don’t have these big name guys that everyone knows. The fact that Josh Donaldson is not on the All-Star team is not an indictment on Donaldson’s season. His production still counts even though he won’t be playing in New York in a couple weeks. All of Oakland’s 52 wins still count.
While national recognition is nice and seeing your guys in an All-Star game is nice, it is not necessary. There’s a lot that could be said about the game counting and the selection process and all that. So maybe Donaldson, Lowrie and Balfour aren’t All-Stars to anyone else, but they are to A’s fans. Those guys are having all-star caliber seasons and have been instrumental in the team’s success. Let’s relish in that and let Oakland’s victories gain them the national recognition they deserve.