Sunday, April 17, 2016

Reddick's early blast propels A's past Royals

Josh Reddick's three-run homer in the first inning set the tone, while Sonny Gray held the Royals to two runs across six innings as the A's earned a 5-3 win on Saturday at the Coliseum to snap a four-game losing streak.
"That was huge," Reddick said. "To give us the lead in general, no matter if it's in the first or the seventh, or the eighth or ninth, it's always a great feeling, especially for a team that hasn't been hitting as well as we'd like to, especially with runners in scoring position."
Stephen Vogt also homered for the second time in as many days in support of Gray, who improved to 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA with the win. Gray fanned six and scattered seven hits, two of which didn't leave the infield. The Royals got an RBI single from Lorenzo Cain in the first, but managed just two unearned runs thereafter as their win streak ended at four.
Reddick's blast to right field, his third homer of the season, was one of eight hits allowed by Kansas City starter Chris Young, who was on the hook for four runs in four-plus innings. Righty Dillon Gee was responsible for Vogt's homer, a first-pitch shot to lead off the seventh.
"[Young] fought his command the first two innings, then kind of got on track," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The thing you look for is just keep us in the game and he did that."
The A's snapped a five-game home losing streak, upping their record at the Coliseum to 2-7 this season.
"You never want to say this early in the season anything is a must-win, but it was a big win for us," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We needed to get it to get some confidence back here, and we had a big crowd out there too. We always want to play well in front of our fans."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Finishing strong: Gray endured several long innings, including a 22-pitch first frame and a 32-pitch fourth, but even after exiting the fifth at 100 pitches, the right-hander returned to the mound in the sixth and finished with a flourish, compiling a 1-2-3 inning and striking out each of his final two batters to help save an overworked bullpen. Gray threw 114 pitches in all, his most since firing 119 on May 3, 2015. More >
"Every time you go out there, you want to get deep in the game, you want to give yourself and the team a chance to win," Gray said. "I was just thankful for the opportunity to go back out there. I think in years past I might have been done after five, but just the way our bullpen had been used and the way they've been throwing is unbelievable. After the third inning you're in here thinking if you can get through five it will be great."
Swinging and missing: The Royals got a run off Gray three batters into the first inning and had another runner in scoring position with one out and the heart of the order coming up, but couldn't capitalize -- Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas both struck out swinging to end the threat.
Got him this time: Young has historically pitched well against Reddick, who was hitting just .143 in nine plate appearances against the right-hander before homering on the first pitch he saw in the first inning. Young labored all afternoon and pitched with runners on base in each of the four-plus innings he worked. More >
What a relief: The A's continued to get excellent work from their relievers, who racked up three scoreless innings in the win. After John Axford worked 1 2/3 innings and Sean Doolittle finished off the eighth, right-hander Ryan Madson allowed an unearned run in the ninth, but notched the save against his former team, his third of the season.
QUOTABLE
"Any time you beat the World Series champs, you're gonna hang your head high and walk out of here with a smile." -- Reddick
WHAT'S NEXT
Royals: Right-hander Kris Medlen will make his second consecutive start in Sunday's series finale against the A's at 3:05 p.m. CT as the Royals wrap up a seven-game road trip. Medlen is coming off an encouraging outing against Houston on April 12, when he struck out seven over five innings. He is still trying to regain his form after missing all of 2014 and part of '15 following a second Tommy John surgery.
A's: Right-hander Chris Bassitt will take the mound at 1:05 p.m. PT on Sunday in the series finale against the Royals at the Coliseum. Bassitt received a no-decision in each of his first two starts despite posting a 2.92 ERA with four earned runs allowed across 12 1/3 innings.

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