Royals

Hosmer’s homer caps Royals’ 4-2 victory over Oakland in series opener

The Royals’ Eric Hosmer (right) celebrated with Alex Gordon following Hosmer’s solo home run against the Athletics in the ninth inning Friday in Oakland.
The Royals’ Eric Hosmer (right) celebrated with Alex Gordon following Hosmer’s solo home run against the Athletics in the ninth inning Friday in Oakland. AP

In his previous appearance, Edinson Volquez ran up his strikeout total and didn’t finish the sixth inning.

Friday, in the series opener against the Athletics, Volquez executed a different plan.

“Pitch to contact,” Volquez said. “That was the idea. I wanted to pitch to contact and stay in the game. But I walked four guys. If you take the walks away I probably go seven innings.”

Volquez will take the result. The Royals won 4-2. Volquez pitched six innings, left the game with the lead and improved his record to 2-0.

The totals didn’t shine. Four walks and two strikeouts plus his first home run surrendered this season, one start after striking out 10 in 5 2/3 innings. The best part about Volquez’s effort Friday was it got stronger through the night.

Volquez retired eight of the last nine batters he faced and turned the ball over a bullpen that continues to excel.

Kelvin Herrera pitched the seventh, Joakim Soria survived two base runners in the eighth and Wade Davis pitched a perfect ninth as the Royals improved to 8-2 and 4-1 on the road trip.

Five of the eight victories have been by one run. Davis has saved four of them (he has five saves in all) and collected the victory in a fifth.

“With the bullpen we got, we don’t have to worry,” Volquez said.

Well, that might be pushing it a bit. But the point is well taken. The Royals haven’t blown a save this season.

The offensive news for the Royals came in milestones. Kendrys Morales delivered the 500th RBI of his career. Eric Hosmer blasted his first home run of the season.

And in the most unusual circumstance of them all, Alcides Escobar drew a walk.

The leadoff hitter who gained notice last postseason for swinging at the first pitch he saw in his first plate appearance, Escobar drew a walk from Rich Hill to open the game. It was his first base on balls of the season, and it paid off.

Escobar took second on Omar Infante’s infield single to the shortstop hole and came around when Cain dropped a bloop single between Josh Reddick and the right field line.

Infante hustled to third on the play, which allowed him to score when Hosmer grounded into a double play.

The first time this season, Oakland had surrendered runs in the first inning, and the Royals seemed poised for a big scoring night, especially when Morales roped a single up the middle to score Lorenzo Cain, who had opened the third with a walk.

But despite having baserunners in every inning except the eighth, there would be no more scoring from the Royals until the ninth.

Left-handed Sean Doolittle was summoned to face Hosmer, who was hitless in his previous four at-bats. The fifth resulted in a long homer, to dead center, off the wall behind the fence with the 400 sign.

Hosmer entered the game with a team-best .343 batting average.

“I’ve been hitting the ball pretty good but not in the air as much as I’d like,” Hosmer said. “The past couple of days have felt pretty good. Any time we’re late in the game and we can get some insurance runs for our bullpen we feel pretty good.”

Another night, another defensive gem by Escobar. In the fourth inning, Jed Lowrie hit a sharp one hopper up the middle that deflected off Volquez’s glove and caromed to shortstop.

“I thought I had it,” Volquez said. “I looked up and said, ‘Aw, man,’”

Until he saw Escobar, who was moving toward the second base bag to take a throw from Volquez and change direction. Escobar got the ball bare-handed and threw a dart to Hosmer to beat Lowrie.

The A’s scored in the inning, but it might have been more without Escobar’s stellar play. After his amazing catch in center field to start a double play on Thursday in Houston, Escobar has established a high bar for the spectacular.

“It was a tough play,” Escobar said. “But not as good as (Thursday’s).”

But that walk was one of five by the hack-away Royals, which matched a season-best. The world seemed off its axis when the free swingers — Escobar, Morales and Salvador Perez — each drew a base on balls.

“We were kind of laughing, thinking about when was the last time Esky, Sal and Morales all took walks in the same game.”

The Royals media relations staff uncovered part of the answer. It had been since Sept. 16, 2014, when Escobar and Perez had drawn walks in the same game.

Friday’s summary

Royals 4, Athletics 2

TableStyle: SP-basebattersCCI Template: SP-basebatters

Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

A.Escobar ss

4

1

2

0

1

0

.239

Infante 2b

5

1

2

0

0

1

.324

L.Cain cf

3

1

1

1

2

2

.243

Hosmer 1b

5

1

1

1

0

1

.325

K.Morales dh

4

0

3

1

1

1

.243

A.Gordon lf

5

0

1

0

0

2

.257

S.Perez c

3

0

1

0

1

1

.235

C.Colon 3b

4

0

0

0

0

2

.143

Orlando rf

4

0

1

0

0

3

.261

Totals

37

4

12

3

5

13

 

TableStyle: SP-basebattersCCI Template: SP-basebatters

Oakland

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

Crisp cf

5

0

0

0

0

1

.182

Coghlan dh

4

0

0

0

0

1

.138

Reddick rf

3

0

1

0

1

0

.250

Valencia 3b

4

0

0

0

0

1

.278

Vogt c

4

2

3

1

0

0

.273

Lowrie 2b

2

0

0

0

2

0

.205

K.Davis lf

3

0

1

1

1

0

.182

Alonso 1b

4

0

0

0

0

1

.091

Semien ss

3

0

1

0

1

0

.281

Totals

32

2

6

2

5

4

 

TableStyle: SP-basebyinningsCCI Template: SP-basebyinnings

Kansas City

201

000

001

4

12

0

Oakland

010

100

000

2

6

1

E: Valencia (2). LOB: Kansas City 11, Oakland 8. 2B: Infante (4), Reddick (2). HR: Hosmer (1), off Doolittle; Vogt (1), off Volquez. RBIs: L.Cain (5), Hosmer (5), K.Morales (7), Vogt (2), K.Davis (1). SB: A.Escobar (2).

Runners left in scoring position: Kansas City 7 (Infante 2, C.Colon 3, L.Cain, Hosmer); Oakland 3 (Valencia, Crisp, K.Davis). RISP: Kansas City 2 for 8; Oakland 1 for 5. Runners moved up: Hosmer, Lowrie. GIDP: Hosmer, A.Gordon, C.Colon, Valencia. DP: Kansas City 1 (A.Escobar, Infante, Hosmer); Oakland 3 (Lowrie, Semien, Alonso), (Valencia, Lowrie, Alonso), (Alonso, Semien, Alonso).

TableStyle: SP-basepitchersCCI Template: SP-basepitchers

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

W

K

ERA

Volquez W, 2-0

6

4

2

2

4

2

2.04

K.Herrera

1

1

0

0

0

1

0.00

Soria

1

1

0

0

1

0

6.35

W.Davis S, 5

1

0

0

0

0

1

0.00

TableStyle: SP-basepitchersCCI Template: SP-basepitchers

Oakland

IP

H

R

ER

W

K

ERA

R.Hill L, 1-2

4.1

9

3

3

3

6

4.15

Fe.Rodriguez

1.1

1

0

0

2

2

1.13

Rzepczynski

1.1

1

0

0

0

2

0.00

Dull

1.1

0

0

0

0

2

0.00

Doolittle

0.2

1

1

1

0

1

6.75

Holds: K.Herrera (3), Soria (2). Inherited runners-scored: Fe.Rodriguez 2-0, Rzepczynski 2-0. WP: Volquez.

Umpires: Home, Mike DiMuro; First, Quinn Wolcott; Second, Brian Gorman; Third, Mark Carlson. Time: 3:15. Att: 19,451.

AP-WF-04-16-16 0525GMT

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