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A’s beat Royals 5-4 for first winning streak of ‘23

A lot of firsts in a close game

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s finally did it. They won their second straight game today, defeating the Kansas City Royals in a close 5-4 ballgame at Kauffman Stadium.

The game got off to a solid enough start. Starting pitcher Ken Waldichuk struck out the very first two batters he faced tonight before back-to-back walks and an RBI double put the Royals on the board first.

The A’s struck right back in the top of the second. A leadoff double from JJ Bleday and two walks loaded the bases for Esteury Ruiz, and he made sure the team cashed in on the early scoring opportunity:

The A’s had a lead and it was time to start adding on. The top of the third saw Bleday strike again, this time in a bigger way:

That was his second home run in just four games, continuing his hot streak he had in Triple-A. He’s quickly playing himself into sticking around and getting more at-bats. We also got to see something you don’t usually see:

The scoring kept going for Oakland. The next inning a single and back-to-back doubles brought in two more runs for Oakland, pushing the lead to four. Then, as quickly as the offense had started, it went silent, not scoring any more runs the rest of the way. It was going to be on the bullpen to win this game.

On the other side of the ball Waldichuk was cruising until the fourth. Kansas City started coming back after a solo homer and 2-run shot started the inning. He was able to wiggle out of the frame but at 92 pitches, he wasn’t long for this game. He pitched one more inning and got three more strikeouts, ending his day on a high note.

-Ken Waldichuk: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 6 BB, 6 K, 114 pitches

He’s probably lucky he didn’t give up more with all the walks, but Waldichuk fought to give the A’s five innings and put himself in position to get the win, which would be only the second by an A’s starting pitcher this year after Muller’s yesterday. A gritty performance from a guy who wasn’t on top of his game.

Then it was a parade of relievers. Rico Garcia relieved Waldichuk for the sixth and had a clean appearance Richard Lovelady and Sam Moll were both next and both played with fire putting the tying runs in scoring position. Bent but didn’t break as the A’s had the lead heading to the ninth.

Just like last night, Mark Kotsay turned to Zack Jackson he too played with fire by putting the tying run in scoring position. And again he bent but didn’t break, getting a game-ending groundout.

Finally. The A’s have won two games in a row this year. They secured at least a series win. An Oakland starter got another win. And they are no longer dead last in the A.L. as they pull into a tie with these very Royals. Today was a good day.

I’ll take it but maybe Oakland can go one step further. They’ll go into tomorrow hoping to get the 3-game series sweep. It’ll be the rookie Mason Miller against Ryan Yarbrough. I’d keep an eye on how well Miller does after pitching a career-high 100 pitches last time out.