OAKLAND — After an epic bullpen collapse, the Oakland Athletics scored six runs on the Kansas City Royals in the eighth inning on Tuesday night, rallying to a 10-8 win.
“That’s really what the culture that we want to set with these guys is — we’re going to come back no matter what,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We’re going to fight. If we go down, we go down bleeding.”
— Karl Buscheck (@KarlBuscheck) August 16, 2017
The wild frame featured 11 combined runs and started with a nightmare sequence for Santiago Casilla and Blake Treinen.
In that frame, the pair of right-handers surrendered 1,181 combined feet of home runs, turning what had been a 4-3 advantage into an 8-4 deficit. The trouble began with Casilla who allowed a two-run shot to Drew Butera — his first home run since May 14.
The rare longball by the Royals catcher also wrecked starter Chris Smith’s chances of recording his first win since June 24, 2008 — some nine years, two months and 22 days ago.
“Again, Smitty’s on the line for a win and we can’t hold it for him,” Melvin said. “But there were a lot of really good contributions in the game along the way today. Unfortunately we gave it up, but [it was a] really gutsy comeback.”
After trotting in from the bullpen to relieve Casilla, Treinen — who ultimately would collect the win — didn’t fare any better. The 29-year-old allowed a two-run homer to Eric Hosmer before giving up a solo drive to Mike Moustakas.
Following that disastrous top of the inning, the A’s offense responded by batting around and putting six runs on the Royals bullpen.
Ryon Healy began the barrage with a run-scoring single, Matt Joyce put the A’s ahead with a two-run double and Marcus Semien capped the onslaught with an RBI single.
“Obviously it’s really easy to roll over and give that game away,” Joyce said.
“We did a great job, man,” Joyce added. “We did a great job coming back there and it was a lot of fun to be a part of. It’s definitely up there on the list [of my best comebacks].”
For Smith, it would have been difficult for his night to begin in less promising fashion. The A’s and the 36-year-old found themselves in a 3-0 hole just four batters into the game.
Smith walked Whit Merrifield, the first Royal he faced. The right-hander then hit Lorenzo Cain and proceeded to allow a two-run double to Hosmer and an RBI single to Melky Cabrera.
Following the first-inning turmoil, Smith clamped down on the Royals, allowing just one hit the rest of the way. Smith ended up letting in three earned runs on three hits and a walk while striking out one in 5.1 innings of work.
“In the first inning, can you envision him being out there in the sixth inning and probably not. But this guy’s got a lot of moxie.”
Smith had briefly been in a position to win thanks to a trio of A’s home runs. Joyce was responsible for the first, his 17th of the season, driving a solo shot into the right-field bleachers in the bottom of the first.
Rookie first baseman Matt Olson connected on his fourth in five games in the second. With that drive, the 23-year-old Olson now has eight homers in 26 games.
Khris Davis supplied the third home run, a towering, 421-foot blast in the bottom of the third. Davis’ 33rd homer leaves the left fielder tied for third-most in the American League.