Royals, Volquez hang loss on homecoming A’s

By only the second inning, the Oakland A’s had received their sign the night wasn’t going to be easy.

Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales reached for a Jesse Hahn pitch hanging middle away — just how a left-handed slugger likes it — and hacked it just fair and over the left field wall.

This story has been updated with post-game quotes and additional material from the A’s clubhouse.

The swirling winds likely helped the ball, which looked like a typical foul ball behind the third base side of the Coliseum, keeping it just fair enough, for just long enough.

Hahn said:

“I don’t think that ball should have gotten out, but it did. It was just unfortunate. … It was a weird night. Very strange.”

Hahn (L, 3.47 ERA, 9 H, 5 K) was charged with three runs, though five crossed Friday evening, as the A’s fell once again to the Royals, 5-2.

Meanwhile, Royals starters Edinson Volquez (W, 3.18 ERA, 3 H, 3 K) made Brett Lawrie his 1,000th career strikeout victim.

The A’s only got two hits off Volquez, both in the third inning, and one run on the pair. Infielder Marcus Semien scored on a Sam Fuld double.

The eight and nine hitters did Oakland’s only real damage, while the A’s could only muster three hits against three pitchers.

A’s manager Bob Melvin seemed in a very bad mood following the game, answering several questions with one sentence or one word, which is not in his typical demeanor.

Part of that may have something to do with an eighth-inning play.

Catcher Stephen Vogt, who has been dealing with tendinitis in his left elbow, was hit in the right wrist while batting in the ninth inning. He bowed in pain, took a few steps toward first base, and was stopped by Melvin and trainer Nick Paparesta.

He was removed from the game, and the potential All Star’s status is day to day.

The Royals and A’s have some history, and skirmished during a series in April. Royals pitchers threw at Oakland hitters, which A’s players made no bones about stating, but several said they thought Friday’s hit by pitch was unintentional.

Jesse Hahn, Josh Reddick, Sam Fuld, Vogt and Melvin all denied a feeling of intent. Vogt, who played winter ball some years ago with pitcher Franklin Morales, said:

“I can’t answer (intent), I know this, that Franklin Morales and I go back. I consider him a teammate of mine. And so, I doubt he would do that. That’s him. I know him really well.”

The pitch was up and in, and drew loud boos from the crowd.

There’s no break, and Vogt’s left arm appeared to have been iced longer than his right after the game. His left elbow was a deep red color, with little to no abnormal color on his left wrist, nor any obvious swelling.

It became the biggest takeaway from the night, though in the innings prior, the man at short was doing most of Oakland’s lifting.

Semien may have been Oakland’s best defender of the night, on top of his offense, nabbing a grounder to the right side of second base, and hurling to first for the unsuccessful putout.

Semien’s defense has been much better as of late, the league’s error leader still receiving help from defensive guru Ron Washington and it’s showing.

Semien has only four errors in June, which is still pretty bad, but a far cry from the 18 he recorded over the first two months. The 24-year-old who was traded for Jeff Samardzija during the offseason will be remembered as a main reason the A’s have endured a losing season.

His defense was terrible, and now that there’s improvement with his glove, his offense is taking a hit. His OPS dropped 43 points in June, and sits at a mediocre .722.

The man the Oakland A’s brought in to be their everyday shortstop is having one hell of a season, and not in the way Astros rookie Carlos Correa is.

Scott Kazmir faces Chris Young Saturday afternoon for game two of the three-game series.


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