The Oakland Athletics managed to erase an early four-run deficit on Saturday afternoon, but some rotten luck and a late homer doomed them to a 5-4 loss to the host Kansas City Royals.
A’s starter Trevor Cahill could never find his groove, allowing four runs in the first two innings, but the A’s bats got back in the game against Jason Hammel, drawing even in the eighth on a Chad Pinder pinch-hit single.
Hard-hit outs prevented Oakland (30-29) from taking the lead, and Jorge Soler’s go-ahead solo homer in the bottom of the inning off Yusmeiro Petit proved to be the difference, as the Royals evened up the series.
Cahill — who lasted 4 2/3 innings, striking out six but giving up seven hits and walking two — allowed a pair of runs after facing just four batters, giving up a leadoff single to Jon Jay and a double to Whit Merrifield. He did respond by striking out Mike Moustakas, but catcher Salvador Perez hit a two-run double to put Kansas City (21-37) on top. The Royals doubled their lead in the second with an Alcides Escobar triple and a Jay double.
The A’s were quick to respond against Hammel, who pitched for Oakland during the second half of the 2014 season. Jed Lowrie knocked in Marcus Semien to prevent a shutdown inning in the third, and Bruce Maxwell snapped a 1-for-16 skid with an RBI single in the fourth.
That fourth inning could have been much bigger, were it not for miscommunication on Stephen Piscotty’s 14th double of the year. Rookie Dustin Fowler saw third base coach Matt Williams waving him around, only to turn his head and miss Williams change his mind and put up a stop sign. Escobar’s relay throw nailed Fowler at the plate for the second out of the frame, meaning Maxwell’s single would only cut the deficit to 4-2.
Maxwell struck again in the seventh, hitting his first homer of the year to center field to chase Hammel, who allowed three runs on seven hits in six-plus innings. Kevin McCarthy would take care of the seventh despite allowing loud contact, but the A’s would tie it in the eighth against Tim Hill. Matt Olson singled to start the inning, advanced to second on Matt Chapman’s chopper and scored on Pinder’s single. Jonathan Lucroy had a 12-pitch battle, but lined out to end the inning.
Hill ended up with the win in relief after Soler’s homer in Petit’s second inning of work. Kelvin Herrera pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save, getting a deep fly out by Lowrie to end it.bruce maxwellchad pinderMLBOakland A'sOakland Athleticstrevor cahill