The Oakland Athletics hit three homers against the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, winning in a rout 10-4 at Kauffman Stadium.
The Athletics shelled Luis Mendoza in the second inning, essentially ending the game before it started. Yoeneis Cespedes led off with a single, then John Jaso drew a one-out walk to put two runners on. Josh Reddick blasted a double to centerfield, driving in both runs to give Oakland a 2-0 lead.
Mendoza struck out Chris Young, but then watched the wheels completely fall off. Eric Sogard doubled in Reddick, then Coco Crisp and Jed Lowrie hit back-to-back singles, pushing the score to 5-0. Ned Yost removed Mendoza after the Lowire single, bringing in Chen to finish the inning.
The starter's stat line looks truly horrific: 11 batters faced, five runs, five hits, two walks, one strikeout. Mendoza now has a 4.87 ERA, and his 4.50 FIP doesn't suggest much improvement unless his peripherals start to change. It will be interesting to see how long Dayton Moore and Yost stick with Mendoza in the rotation, or if they decide it's time to give Danny Duffy or Will Smith a chance.
George Kottaras scored the Royals first run with a solo homer in the second. The catcher worked a 3-1 count against A.J. Griffin, then yanked a 90-mph fastball right down the middle just over the right field wall.
Reddick extended the Athletics lead with a two-run homer in the third. Chen badly missed his spot with an 85-mph sinker, throwing it low and inside instead of low and outside. Reddick jumped all over the pitch, crushing it over the right field wall.
Chen looked fine in long-relief outside of the homer, as he allowed the two runs on five hits over 3 1/3 innings.
The Royals picked up a second run on an Alex Gordon solo homer in the fifth. Gordon mashed a 2-0 fastball from Griffin that caught too much of the plate over the rightfield wall to cut the lead to 7-2.
Kansas City mounted little offense against Griffin, only scoring the two runs on five innings. The team did do a good job staying patient and forcing long counts, as the starter threw 105 pitches in five innings. Obviously, everyone wants to see more runs, but the patience is a good sign of a proper approach at the plate that we don't always see enough of.
Having the starter leave early paid some dividends for the Royals, as they scored a pair of runs in the sixth of the Athletics bullpen. Lorenzo Cain led-off the inning with a bloop single off Jerry Blevins, then Mike Moustakas crushed a double to right-center, driving in Cain. Kottaras followed with a walk, putting two runners on with nobody out.
Elliot Johnson struck out against Jesse Chavez for the first out of the inning, but Jarrod Dyson slapped a single to load the bases for Gordon. Gordon struck out on three pitches against the former Royal, fouling the first two pitches off before staring at strike three.
Miguel Tejada followed with a groundball to first that should have been the final out of the inning. The second baseman hustled down the line and slide into first base, but replays showed that Chavez barely beat Tejada to the bag. The first-base umpire called Tejada safe anyways, driving in Moustakas from third for the second run of the inning. Eric Hosmer hit a groundout to end the inning.
Kansas City couldn't really get back in the game, however, as the Oakland offense kept rolling. Lowrie hit a solo homer off Will Smith in the sixth, and Eric Sogard smashed a two-run home run in the seventh, giving the Athletics a 10-4 lead. Smith did not have a great outing, surrendering three runs on five hits over three innings.
J.C. Gutierrez threw a scoreless ninth, while Jesse Chavez held the Royals scoreless over the final three frames.
Gordon and Tejada had multi-hit games, while Kottaras hit a homer and drew two walks.
The Royals will travel to New York to start a four-game series against the Yankees on Monday. Jeremy Guthrie will start the first game for Kansas City, and will face Phil Hughes