Athletics

A's hold Aaron Judge in check, spoil his NorCal homecoming

A's hold Aaron Judge in check, spoil his NorCal homecoming

OAKLAND — In sweeping the Yankees, the A’s also did well to keep New York star rookie Aaron Judge from becoming a major storyline as the weekend unfolded.

Judge -- who is from nearby Linden, in San Joaquin County -- was playing his first games at the Coliseum. There were lots of No. 99 jerseys scattered throughout the large throng of Yankee fans sitting behind the visitor’s dugout and down the right field line.

Judge gave them plenty to cheer about Friday, drilling a three-run homer and a triple. But for the series, he went 4-for-14 with eight strikeouts. That included four RBI and four walks, but it’s all relative in trying to contain a player who is currently leading or tied for the American League lead in all three Triple Crown categories.

A’s manager Bob Melvin wasn’t giving away any secrets when asked before Sunday’s game how Oakland pitchers were choosing to handle Judge.

“Pretty carefully,” he quipped. “I’m not gonna get into how we think to get him out, but it’s probably prudent not to do the same thing all the time because he seems to be a pretty smart guy and have a pretty good understanding of what works for him.”

A’s right-hander Jesse Hahn faced Judge three times Saturday, striking him out twice and walking him.

“We looked at him (on video) a good bit before he came in here,” Hahn said after that game. “I think we’ve just had a good approach against him. I feel like a lot of guys in the league have been scared to go inside to him. I think we’ve done a good job establishing the inner half of the plate. He wants the ball away, he wants to get extended. If you do establish ‘in’ on him, it kind of opens up ‘away’ a little bit.”

The A’s did a nice job mixing their pitches whenever the 6-foot-7 Judge stepped to the plate, giving him a heavy dose of off-speed and breaking stuff. Of the 11 pitches he saw in his four plate appearances Sunday, just four of them were fastballs.

A's blow back-and-forth battle with the Royals, drop series

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USATSI

A's blow back-and-forth battle with the Royals, drop series

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Alex Gordon hit a go-ahead RBI single in the top of the ninth after Oakland tied it in the bottom of the eighth, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Athletics 7-6 on Wednesday.

Alcides Escobar doubled to start the ninth against Blake Treinen (1-1), matching his season high with three hits. Then Gordon delivered his second run-scoring single of the series finale.

Oakland's Matt Chapman hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth against Brandon Maurer (1-1), who wound up the winner.

Lorenzo Cain hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Danny Duffy struck out eight over five innings but the Royals couldn't hold a late lead again before holding on - a day after squandering a four-run advantage in a 10-8 defeat.

Cain added a key RBI single in the eighth for the Royals, who began the day tied with Minnesota six games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland.

Kelvin Herrera finished for his 26th save in 29 chances after allowing Ryon Healy's two-out infield single.

Duffy's winless stretch reached four outings since a victory at Detroit on July 25. The left-hander earned his first major league win at Oakland on June 14, 2011, and has never lost to the A's - 3-0 in seven career appearances and six starts - but hasn't beaten them since April 10, 2012.

Marcus Semien hit a two-run homer in the third and Oakland got back in it on Jed Lowrie's two-run single in the fifth.

Kansas City's Melky Cabrera fouled a ball off his leg in the third and went down writhing in pain before recovering to hit a single on the very next pitch to load the bases with no outs. But Blackburn struck out Mike Moustakas and induced an inning-ending double play from Brandon Moss to escape unscathed.

A's starter Paul Blackburn was tagged for eight hits and four runs in four innings of his first career start against Kansas City, striking out two and walking three.

MINOR LEAGUE TRADE

The A's acquired lefty Sam Moll from Colorado for a player to be named later or cash then optioned him to Triple-A Nashville. Oakland added right-hander Chris Hatcher to the 25-man roster and he made his A's debut in the sixth inning, a day after coming to Oakland in a trade from the Dodgers. The A's optioned righty Josh Smith to Nashville and designated righty Zach Neal for assignment to clear 40-man roster space to add Moll.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Royals: RHP Joakim Soria - who allowed four straight hits in the eighth inning Tuesday night - is scheduled for an MRI on Thursday after stiffness in his lat and ribcage area to determine when he can pitch again. The reliever showed up to the Coliseum with discomfort. "He's been battling with it for two weeks, he's been pitching through it, he's been pitching very effectively through it," manager Ned Yost said. "But after last night he showed up more so than usual."

Athletics: Josh Phegley (strained left oblique) was slated to catch five or six innings in a rehab game for Triple-A Nashville at Tacoma. ... OF Jake Smolinski, on the disabled list since March 30 recovering from right shoulder surgery, isn't expected to be able to play in the outfield until "well into September," manager Bob Melvin said.

UP NEXT

Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy (4-8, 4.80 ERA) starts Friday at home against the first-place Indians trying to snap a 14-start winless stretch at Kaufmann Stadium since a victory vs. Minnesota on Aug. 20 last year.

Athletics: Following Thursday's day off, LHP Sean Manaea (8-7, 4.59) starts at Houston on Friday looking to end a five-start winless stretch in which he's 0-2 since beating Cleveland on July 16.

A's balldude leaves Royals reliever completely hanging after catch

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MLB Network

A's balldude leaves Royals reliever completely hanging after catch

All the Royals' reliever wanted to do was congratulate the A's balldude for making a nice play.

Instead, he got nothing but air.

In the bottom of the fourth inning Wednesday, A's outfielder Chad Pinder fouled a ball down the right field line. The young man in charge of protecting the opposing bullpen from foul balls made the catch just a few feet in front of the seated Royals relievers.

His first move was to go give the ball to a young fan. But he failed to notice one of the Royals relievers trying to give him some dap.

Here's the awkward sequence: