For six innings, Frankie Montas was nearly unhittable. Kansas City’s offense managed just two hits and zero walks during the first two-thirds of the game, with Montas striking out seven batters along the way.
Luckily for the Royals, baseball games don’t end after six innings. After being dominated for much of the game, Kansas City’s offense got some timely luck before breaking the game open with some power in a 6-1 win over the A’s Thursday night.
The win snapped the Royals’ five-game losing streak and brought the Royals back to just one game under .500.
And none of it would have been possible without Mike Minor delivering maybe his best start of his 2021 campaign. Entering the night, Minor had gone at least 7.0 innings just twice. One of those times was in his last start, but he also gave up five earned runs during that start. He carried a 4.84 ERA into this start.
However, with Kansas City’s bats slow to start, he kept the Royals in the game with seven strong innings. Aside from a 5th inning solo home run given up to Jed Lowrie, Minor was flawless, striking out eight A’s batters while walking just one. And compared to his prior solid starts, he labored far less tonight, giving up just three hits.
Despite his solid work, Montas was the story of the game through the first six innings, completely shutting the Royals down. After giving up two hits in his first two innings, Montas retired 13 straight batters from the 2nd inning through the 6th inning, maintaining a moderate pitch count along the way.
He stayed strong into the 7th inning but ran into some bad luck. Andrew Benintendi led off the inning with a sharp single, the lone hard-hit ball of the inning. After Salvador Perez struck out, Jorge Soler reached on catcher’s interference to put runners on first and second with one out.
Hunter Dozier then took advantage of the giant abyss known as foul territory at the Oakland Coliseum, watching a ground ball to Gold Glove third baseman Matt Chapman deflect toward the Royals bullpen, scoring Benintendi to tie the game at 1-1.
Kelvin Gutierrez followed that up with a two-run single up the middle that exited his bat at 69 MPH, putting Kansas City up 3-1. Minor delivered a huge shutdown inning in the 7th before the Royals broke it open in the 8th with two homers from Benintendi and Soler.
Soler’s was a milestone homer as well, joining the 100 home run club. It gave the Royals a 6-1 lead headed into the bottom of the 8th.
Future American League All-Star Scott Barlow closed the door in the 8th, before former American League All-Star Greg Holland shut the Athletics down in the 9th to end the game. The win brings the Royals to 30-31 on the season.
Up Next: Royals at Athletics, Friday, June 11, 2021, 8:40 PM CDT, Oakland Coliseum. RHP Brady Singer (3-5, 4.88 ERA) v. LHP Cole Irvin (4-7, 3.89 ERA)