Daniel Gossett pitched five innings of results-better-than-process baseball before being removed for right elbow tightness, and the A’s offense broke away late to squeeze out a hard-fought victory in a remarkably efficient Sunday afternoon ballgame.
During the first seven innings of this game, the A’s and Royals traded light blows early but neither team was able to do much of anything on offense. In the third inning, the A’s tallied the game’s first run thanks to a spark from the bottom of the lineup, as Mark Canha doubled on a line drive to the left field corner and Jonathan Lucroy hit a sharp ground ball up the middle for an RBI single.
That lead was quickly squandered when Jon Jay, homerless on the year, smacked a solo shot to right-center field to tie the game in the bottom half of the frame.
The lack of offense was, not to discredit the Royals’ efforts too much, largely thanks to both offenses failing to take advantage of some very hittable pitches. Jake Junis, a former 29th round pick, has been having a good season for the Royals, but in today’s game many of his pitches appeared flat and floated out over dangerous parts of the plate. However, the A’s offense swung straight through most of those pitches, and Junis racked up nine strikeouts over the course of his performance. Through the first seven innings, the A’s had managed just the one run, and just four hits.
Daniel Gossett allowed one run in five innings pitched, walking two and striking out one, while giving up just two hits. While his results for the start were good overall, his start was a negative as a whole. Gossett’s location was lacking all game, a now fairly consistent problem, and typically missed his target by such a large margin his offerings were easy takes for a rather free-swinging team. Most of his missed locations happened up in the zone, and in the case with Jon Jay, in the sweet spot of most hitters.
Worse, still, with Gossett is that he was removed after just over sixty pitches for what turned out to be tightness in his pitching elbow. Also, during today’s game, it was reported that Kendall Graveman has a forearm straight and will be going onto the disabled list. The starting pitching depth will have to be stretched even further.
Entering in the sixth for a two inning effort, Lou Trivino kept the game tied at one going into the eighth inning, striking out two batters and allowing just one baserunner in his appearance. Despite a very high pitch count, Junis returned to the mound in the eighth inning, and for the second straight day, the Royals leaving their starter out for too long cost them. Dustin Fowler, who reached base four times in five total plate appearances, led off the bottom of the eighth with a single and a steal of second base. Marcus Semien made the first out of the inning, but then Jed Lowrie worked a 3-0 count and knocked a go ahead single to center. Junis was removed from the game and replaced by Burch Smith, who walked Khris Davis and then fell behind Matt Olson 3-0. Olson, like Lowrie and Davis before him, swung at a the 3-0 pitch and promptly deposited the pitch 454 feet away in right center field for a three run shot.
Yusmeiro Petit and Blake Treinen combined for a harmless bottom of the eighth and ninth, and the A’s won 5-1.
The A’s have a much needed day off tomorrow before playing a short two game series at Texas on Tuesday.