The A’s went retro Tuesday night, turning the clock back offensively and delivering the kind of smack down that was a common place over the first half of the season.
They hammered out a season-high 20 hits and routed the Kansas City Royals 11-3 at Kauffman Stadium, and there were lots of reasons to smile for manager Bob Melvin as he scanned the box score.
Perhaps the most encouraging development for the A’s was watching their 3-4 hitters bust out. Josh Donaldson homered twice and had four RBI, and cleanup man Brandon Moss went 4-for-5 and drove in two runs.
It was the A’s highest scoring output since they plated 13 in a July 24 victory over Houston. They had averaged just six hits over their previous six games, but in another flashback to the early part of 2014, they got their offense cranking early on Tuesday night.
The A’s scored once in the first, twice in the third, once in the fourth and twice in the fifth to give Jon Lester (13-7) plenty of support. Consider it a good sign for Oakland’s offense that Lester – coming off a three-hit shutout -- wasn’t even a main storyline in this one.
The lefty did go six innings and extended his winning streak to seven games. He hasn’t lost since June 7.
Starting pitching report
Lester entered with a 1.65 ERA against the Royals, the lowest ever for an opposing pitcher against Kansas City (minimum 75 innings). He racked up seven strikeouts over the first four innings, spotting his fastball and dropping in a very effective curve. Armed with a 6-0 lead, he gave up three runs in the fifth on two hits, a walk and a a throwing error from shortstop Eric Sogard that aided the Royals’ cause.
Lester gave up six hits over six inning, three runs and struck out nine with two walks.
Ryan Cook and Dan Otero held down the fort after Lester exited.
At the plate
It’s been an encouraging series so far for Moss. Coming off a 2-for-28 homestand, he has four RBI over the first two of this seven-game road trip. He drove a double to the wall in center to break the ice for Oakland in the first. He served a flair into left to score Donaldson in the third. Executing against the shift in the fifth, he dropped a bunt to the left side for a single and added a base hit to left in the eighth to complete a four-hit night.
Donaldson’s monster game was also a welcome sight. Though he came in hitting .311 over his previous 21 games, he had colleted just two RBI over the past seven games. He went deep to left-center in the seventh and then drove one over the wall in dead center in the eighth.
Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie (8-10) shut the A’s out over six innings on Aug. 1, but the A’s drove the right-hander from the game after 4 2/3 innings Tuesday.
In the field
Sogard’s throwing error contributed to Kansas City’s lone scoring rally, but in the big picture it didn’t hurt. Sogard figures to see more action at short in coming games with Jed Lowrie nursing a fractured finger and Nick Punto on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.
Scott Kazmir (13-4, 2.73) is coming off a bizarre start in which he looked unhittable for six innings, then got charged with five runs in the seventh against Minnesota. He hasn’t been at his best over the years against the Royals, carrying a 5.21 ERA against them in 16 starts. He matches up against Jason Vargas (8-5, 3.68) in Wednesday’s 5:10 p.m. game.