The 6th inning was not friendly to Jason Hammel last season, with opposing batters hitting .344 against Hammel in the inning. That has not been the case this season.
Unfortunately for the Royals, the 6th inning bug hit Hammel once again tonight, as a three-run 6th doomed the Royals in a 4-1 loss to open their three-game set against the Athletics.
The game’s scoring got off to a weird start when Alcides Escobar hit a solo home run in the 3rd. Looking to re-establish normalcy, Matt Olson tied the game in the 4th with a solo bomb of his own.
At that point, Hammel was cruising. Through five, he had given up just the one run on four hits while striking out five A’s. That’s when things got tough.
After Jed Lowrie led off the 6th by flying out to center field, the next five A’s would reach base against Hammel, including RBI singles from Marcus Semien and Stephen Piscotty and an RBI double from Matt Chapman. Hammel would finish the inning and his evening with the Royals trailing 4-1.
Meanwhile, the Royals offense had stalled. In keeping with the seemingly never ending pattern of getting worked by slow tossing starting pitchers, sophomore Paul Blackburn held the Kansas City offense to just one run on three hits in his season debut. Blackburn ended his night by retiring 12 straight batters after giving up the lone solo homer to Escobar.
The Kansas City offense didn’t fare any better against the Oakland bullpen. Salvador Perez’s 7th inning single against Lou Trivino proved to be their final hit of the evening.
Blake Treinen and his devil sinker put the Royals away in the 9th without event, as the Royals fell to 21-42.
Up Next: Kansas City Royals at Oakland Athletics, Friday, June 8, 9:05 CDT. RHP Jakob Junis (5-5, 3.62 ERA) v. RHP Frankie Montas (2-0, 0.64 ERA)