KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Hunter Dozier homered before driving in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, Ryan O’Hearn also went deep and the Kansas City Royals held on to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-4 on Wednesday night.
Tim Hill (2-0) tossed two perfect innings in relief of Jakob Junis for the Royals, and Ian Kennedy survived a harrowing ninth inning to pick up his 23rd save of the season.
Kennedy walked Jurickson Profar to begin the inning, then struck out Chris Herrmann and Corban Joseph. Marcus Semien singled to bring the go-ahead run to the plate, but Kennedy got Robbie Grossman to hit a lazy flyball to left field to end the game.
Blake Treinen (6-5) faced four batters in the seventh inning without recording an out for Oakland. He allowed three hits and a walk, and Jake Diekman allowed one of his inherited runners to score.
Semien and Mark Canha homered for the A’s, who twice blew two-run leads in squandering a chance to go a season-best 22 games over .500. Oakland had won 16 of its last 22 against the Royals.
The big blows began Wednesday night with the game’s second pitch.
They didn’t stop with bats hitting balls, either.
Semien launched a solo shot off Junis to give the A’s an early lead, and the Royals’ starter proceeded to hit Matt Chapman in the helmet with a pitch two batters later. The impact launched Chapman’s helmet toward the warning track, though he remained in the game until the end of the inning.
He later scored on Seth Brown’s groundout.
The Royals tied it in the third when Tanner Roark served up Dozier’s two-run shot. The homer over the left-field bullpen was bookended by Roark hitting Whit Merrifield and Alex Gordon with pitches.
Oakland jumped back ahead in the fifth on Canha’s two-run homer, and the Royals quickly answered over the next couple innings. Jorge Soler got the first run back with an RBI double in the fifth, and O’Hearn tied it at 4-all when he belted an 0-2 pitch to right field to open the sixth.
Roark allowed four runs on five hits and a walk over six innings, striking out four. Junis gave up four runs on seven hits and a walk, striking out five.
Chapman immediately headed toward first base after he was hit in the helmet, and even shook off a trainer who came out to visit him. But he was eventually replaced by Chad Pinder as a precaution.
The Royals have shut down right-hander Brad Keller for the rest of the season after noticing a drop in velocity. The 24-year-old Keller, who was pounded by Oakland on Monday, already has thrown a career-high 165 1/3 innings. “I didn’t see anything after his last start that I wanted to see the rest of the year,” manager Ned Yost said. “His future is too important.”
Yost declined to discuss the speculation that Royals owner David Glass is negotiating with local businessman and Indians minority owner John Sherman for a sale of the franchise. But the skipper did spend several minutes talking about the passion that Glass has for baseball, and that delivering the 84-year-old owner a World Series title in 2015 was one of the highlights of his career.
A’s designated hitter Khris Davis was a late scratch when he was placed on three-day paternity leave to be with his wife, Jill, for the birth of their second child. Davis was 4 for 8 with a homer in two wins over Kansas City before leaving for his home in Paradise Valley, Arizona. He was replaced in the lineup by Corban Joseph, and manager Bob Melvin said a roster replacement would arrive Thursday.
Chris Bassitt (9-5, 3.59 ERA) starts for the A’s and fellow right-hander Glenn Sparkman (3-9, 5.52) is on the hill for the Royals as the clubs wrap up their four-game series with a Thursday matinee.
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