Offense flexes its muscles as Montas, A’s handle Royals 7-2
On a night when one of the most prolific offensive teams ever in the Golden State Warriors polished off a four-game sweep of the NBA Finals, the neighboring Oakland Athletics found some offense of their own en route to a 7-2 win over the Kansas City Royals.
The A’s (33-31) scored just 15 runs over the first nine games of their last homestand. But since reinserting Khris Davis at the everyday designated hitter spot after a 10-day injury absence, the Oakland offense has posted 18 in its past three contests at the Oakland Coliseum. For Kansas City (21-43) this is apparently a case of wrong team, wrong time.
The A’s wasted no time getting on the board Friday night as Davis dropped the hammer in the first inning, unleashing his wrath on a slider from Royals starter Jakob Junis (L, 5-6, 4.05 ERA). Davis launched a solo homer (16) over the 7-foot wall in right-center to put the A’s up 1-0.
A’s Skipper Bob Melvin broke down Davis’s homer after the game:
“That’s just a line drive to right field. … Everyone in our dugout was amazed. If anyone else hits that it’s probably a two-hopper to the wall for a double but this thing goes out. It’s spectacular power.”
Two innings later, it was center-fielder Dustin Fowler‘s turn to show his power at the plate. This time, however, Fowler would take advantage of Junis’ two-seamer, sending it to left-center as well for his own solo job (4), in roughly the same spot as Davis’ jack.
But the A’s weren’t done hitting the deep ball.
Opening the bottom of the fourth inning, Davis was back at it. getting a touch under another hanging slider from Junis, Davis sent one just beyond the wall in straight-away center for his second solo blast (17) to give the A’s a 3-0 advantage.
The other standout from an offensive perspective was A’s catcher Jonathan Lucroy who contributed with three RBIs on the night, including a big insurance swing in the form of a two-run double in the sixth.
While the A’s bats began to light up, pitcher Frankie Montas followed suit. In his 7-2/3 innings, Montas (W, 3-0, 1.25 ERA) gave up just six hits while tossing a total of 96 pitches.
Of his night, Montas said via teams translator Juan Dorado:
“I was just trying to execute my pitches and believe in what [Jonathan] Lucroy was calling … I felt like I had a good rhythm.”
Perhaps more impressive than his stamina was the fact that Montas relied on only three pitches for the majority of the night. A two-seam fastball, four-seam fastball and slider were the only tricks up Montas’ sleeve, but they were lethal enough to power the 25-year old through most of the night.
Montas’ lone hiccup came in the top of the eighth when he gave up a two-run homer (13) to Royals third-baseman Mike Moustakas before taking his leave. Moustakas was able to take advantage of a two-seam fastball left over the plate by Montas and send it out to right-center field.
The A’s bullpen was able to clean up the mess in the eighth, shutting the door to any further damage.
And the bats would answer in the bottom of the eighth with more offense of their own. After a triple by Marcus Semien, Stephen Piscotty was credited with an RBI on a rare fielding error by Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar.
Rookie reliever Lou Trivino (S, 1, 1.82 ERA) recorded the first save of his big league career, staying in for a perfect ninth after shutting the door in the eighth with two on base — an uprising allowed by Emilio Pagan, who got no one out while allowing a hit and a walk.
With two consecutive wins over Kansas City, the A’s will look to complete the sweep and continue to flex their muscles offensively on Saturday.