Instant Replay: Hahn hit early, A's can't muster enough off Royals

Instant Replay: Hahn hit early, A's can't muster enough off Royals

BOX SCORE

KANSAS CITY – Jason Vargas was a regular thorn in the A’s side when he pitched in the American League West.

They were reacquainted with the left-hander Thursday, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience. The A’s advanced just one runner as far as second base against Vargas in a 3-1 loss that denied them a sweep at Kauffman Stadium and snapped their eight-game winning streak against the Royals.

Vargas (2-0) was primarily responsible for that, limiting Oakland to four hits over 7 2/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked just one. Meanwhile, the Royals did their damage early off Jesse Hahn, scoring all the runs they would need inside of the first three innings.

Vargas, who spent four seasons with Seattle and one with the Angels, has thrown four complete games against Oakland and entered with a 3.22 ERA against them in 20 games (18 starts). The A’s carried just a .215 batting average against Vargas into the game.

Tensions ran high in the second inning when Ryon Healy exchanged words at home plate with Royals catcher Salvador Perez. Healy seemed to take exception to an inside pitch from Vargas, and he and Perez began jawing briefly before home plate umpire Mark Wegner stepped between them.

The A’s finished their first road trip of the season 3-3 and flew back to Oakland after the game to begin a 10-game homestand, all games against the AL West.

Starting pitching report

Five batters into the bottom of the first, four Royals had singled and two had scored off Hahn (0-1), suggesting it would be a short night for Oakland’s right-hander in his first major league start of the season. Hahn steadied himself, however, and wound up with a very respectable pitching line. He lasted six innings and gave up three runs on six hits, striking out seven and walking two. No doubt he’ll want to make things easier on himself in the early going, but he certainly earned another start after he was tapped to replace Raul Alcantara as the No. 5 man in the rotation.

Bullpen report

Daniel Coulombe and Ryan Madson each threw a scoreless inning in relief of Hahn.

At the plate

Rajai Davis helped the A’s avoid a shutout when he lined a homer to left to lead off the ninth against Royals closer Kelvin Herrera, his first home run since returning to Oakland. Other than that, the A’s went quietly with the bats. They mustered just six hits total. Besides Davis’ homer, only two hitters reached as far as second base.

In the field

A familiar problem has already reared its ugly head, as the A’s are committing too many errors in the first two weeks of the season. After two Thursday night, they’ve totaled an American League-high 11. Their miscues Thursday were very avoidable. Mark Canha, drawing the start in right field, simply dropped Eric Hosmer’s liner. That came after he made an adventure of Lorenzo Cain’s liner an inning before. Hahn committed the other error, when he covered first on a grounder and couldn’t handle an easy flip from Ryon Healy. A’s pitchers have committed five errors already. They committed just nine all of last season.

Attendance

The announced turnout was 22,160.

Up next

Josh Reddick makes his return to Oakland when the Astros begin a three-game series at the Coliseum on Friday night. Kendall Graveman (2-0, 2.08) goes in the opener against lefty Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 0.64), with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. Saturday: Sean Manaea (0-1, 7.15) vs. Lance McCullers (1-0, 2.77), 1:05 p.m. Sunday: Jharel Cotton (1-1, 3.97) vs. Charlie Morton (0-1, 4.09), 1:05 p.m.

A's lineup: In rare move, Melvin makes no changes vs Astros

A's lineup: In rare move, Melvin makes no changes vs Astros

PROGRAMMING NOTE: A's-Astros coverage begins at 4pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

After winning their fourth straight game on Tuesday, the A's are trotting out the same lineup Wednesday against the Astros.

Oakland A's:
1. Matt Joyce (L) LF
2. Matt Olson (L) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) DH
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) 3B
7. Bruce Maxwell (L) C
8. Franklin Barreto (R) SS
9. Jaycob Brugman (L) CF
Jesse Hahn -- RHP

Houston Astros:
1. George Springer (R) CF
2. Josh Reddick (L) RF
3. Jose Altuve (R) 2B
4. Carlos Correa (R) SS
5. Brian McCann (L) C
6. Carlos Beltran (S) DH
7. Marwin Gonzalez (S) 3B
8. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B
9. Norichika Aoki (L) LF
David Paulino -- RHP

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's streak-extending win over Astros

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's streak-extending win over Astros

BOX SCORE

The A’s took a noteworthy step toward changing the narrative in their recent history against the Houston Astros.

Coming through during clutch moments, both at the plate and on the mound, Oakland beat baseball’s best team 6-4 Tuesday at Minute Maid Park to run their winning streak to four.

Ryon Healy hit his first career grand slam to snap a 1-1 tie in the sixth, and starter Sean Manaea notched his first victory in seven career starts against the Astros, throwing 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball.

George Springer’s three-run homer off Liam Hendriks pulled Houston to within two runs in the ninth, but with two runners aboard, Santiago Casilla coaxed a 3-6-1 double play from Brian McCann to end it.

The A’s (35-42), who have stumbled so badly on the road for the majority of this season, moved to 4-0 on this six-game road trip and defeated the Astros (52-26) for just the second time in their past 17 meetings with them.

Key two-out rallies: They came in with a majors-worst .225 average with runners in scoring position, but the A’s delivered in some key at-bats and scored five of their six runs with two outs. Bruce Maxwell singled home Khris Davis in the second to get the A’s on the board. Then with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth, with the score 1-1, Ryon Healy capped an eight-pitch at-bat with an opposite-field grand slam, his 18th homer of the season.

Making himself at home: Sean Manaea (7-4) flirted with danger throughout his 5 2/3 innings but wound up registering his first victory in seven career starts against Houston. He stranded two runners in scoring position in each of the first two innings, then wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth with minimal damage. With no outs and the bags filled, Manaea fell behind 3-0 to Evan Gattis. Gattis chased a low pitch that would have been ball four and grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. A run scored on the play but that play defused the rally and Manaea escaped with just the one run scoring that kept it a 1-1 game. The lefty gave up nine hits, but he’s now allowed just one earned run over three career starts at hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park (16 IP).

Madson comes up clutch: Ryan Madson took two losses in four appearances at Minute Maid Park last season and allowed five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. But manager Bob Melvin called on him in a crucial situation Tuesday, with two runners aboard and George Springer hitting in the sixth with the A’s up 5-1. Madson got Springer swinging on a 97 mile-per-hour fastball to end the inning and keep Houston from jumping back into the game after Oakland had scored four to command the lead. Madson retired all four batters he faced with three strikeouts.

Maxwell continues his roll: The A’s catcher went 3-for-4 and is 10-for-18 since being recalled from Triple-A Nashville. He also threw out Jose Altuve trying to steal second in the first.

Casilla slams the door: After Springer’s three-run shot in the ninth, Santiago Casilla entered and allowed singles to Altuve and Carlos Correa to bring the winning run to the plate. But Casilla retired pinch hitter Josh Reddick on a foul pop out and got McCann on the game-ending double play, getting over to cover first to cap the play.