A's lose 8-3 to Royals in last game in Arizona

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A's lose 8-3 to Royals in last game in Arizona

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SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Luis Mendoza became the second Kansas City Royals pitcher to be led off the mound by a trainer in four games.Mendoza was removed in the second inning after being struck in the left leg by a Brandon Allen single as the Royals defeated the Oakland Athletics 8-3 Wednesday.Oakland was playing its last game in Arizona before leaving for Tokyo, where the A's meet Seattle in an opening two-game series next Wednesday and Thursday."It's just sore right now," Mendoza said. "I was scared because it really hurt. It was a hard ground ball, but it hit my hamstring, it hit muscle in the back of my leg. Right now, I'm glad it's nothing serious. It was a big bruise."Royals closer Joakim Soria exited Sunday with ligament damage in his elbow. He is taking a few days to consider his options after receiving a second opinion. Soria has damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He had reconstructive elbow surgery in 2003 to replace the same ligament."No more," Mendoza said of pitchers leaving prematurely for the trainer's room.Mendoza is 4-0 with a 0.77 ERA, giving up one run in 11 2-3 innings this spring."The ball got him on the back of the knee, a real meaty part," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's just a bruise. It hit him pretty good. It's not something to continue with at this point of the year. You don't want to take a chance of it swelling or him altering his mechanics at all because he's throwing the ball so well."Yost said Mendoza remains "definitely right in the mix" as a rotation candidate.Lorenzo Cain, who tops the Cactus League with a .500 batting average, homered to lead off the second inning. Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer each had two hits and drove in a run for the Royals, who won for the fifth time in six games. Max Ramirez contributed a two-run pinch single in the sixth to up his RBI total to 11 in 13 games.A's right-hander Graham Godfrey gave up three runs on six hits and two walks in three innings, throwing only 37 strikes in 75 pitches."Not very good," Godfrey said of his location. "That's one thing I talked with Curt (Young, pitching coach) about. Typically I fill the zone up, throw a lot of strikes. Today was almost the opposite. It's good to have that kind of outing now, learn from it and make sure that doesn't happen again."Godfrey was familiar with Cain, who he faced last year when both were in the Pacific Coast League. Cain homered on a 3-1 pitch."He's a good hitter," Godfrey said. "This spring he's been doing pretty well. He was one of the guys I had to be careful of last year. It was a case where I was working behind a lot of hitters. I don't want to walk anybody. I gave him a cookie and he did what he's supposed to do with it."Godfrey worked out of a bases loaded jam in the third, retiring Cain on a fielder's choice to end the inning."I thought I made some good pitches when I needed to," Godfrey said. "Sometime it worked out for me. Other times there was a broken bat flare where nobody was playing. I try not to be so result-oriented, but obviously it wasn't the result I wanted, but most of the pitches were kind of where I wanted them. There were some good things and some bad things mixed with a little bad luck I thought."Minor leaguer Cedric Hunter homered for the A's in the seventh.NOTES: A's 3B Scott Sizemore had surgery Wednesday to repair a left knee ligament tear and will miss the season. Sizemore hit 11 home runs with 52 RBIs in 93 games last season with Oakland after being acquired in a trade with Detroit. He injured the knee last month in the A's first full-squad workout. . Yost said C Humberto Quintero and OF Jason Bourgeois, who were scheduled to arrive Wednesday night after being acquired in a trade with Houston, would be in the Royals lineup Thursday.

Faltering defense continues to be A's unwanted storyline

Faltering defense continues to be A's unwanted storyline

NEW YORK — A weekend that began with promise instead wound up feeling like another lost opportunity for the A’s.

Their defense once again paved the way to their undoing Sunday, and there were plenty of players willing to accept responsibility for a 9-5 loss to the Yankees in the rubber match of a three-game series in the Bronx.

When right fielder Matt Joyce had a catchable fly ball pop out of his glove for a third-inning error that loaded the bases, it seemed inevitable the mistake would come back to haunt the A’s.

On cue, one-time Oakland draft pick Aaron Judge drilled an opposite-field grand slam off Andrew Triggs to a turn a 2-1 A’s lead into a 5-2 deficit. Joyce said he couldn’t stomach to watch the replay of his missed catch afterward.

“It just hit my glove and I dropped it,” Joyce said. “Obviously that’s pretty tough to swallow for me in that situation. For me, I think that’s an easy play. It’s a little embarrassing. It’s obviously really frustrating, especially with what it led to.”

The A’s (22-27) chalked up two more errors, giving them a staggering 49 in 49 games played. When play began Sunday, they had at least 10 more errors than every other big league club. It’s no surprise, therefore, that they also lead the majors with 35 unearned runs, after five of the nine runs they surrendered Sunday were unearned.

That kind of bumbling play in the field is making it difficult for the A’s to maintain leads when they claim one, and tough to mount comebacks when they fall behind. In a factoid that helps explain why the A’s likely find themselves looking at another summer of selling off veterans, they have won just one of the eight road series they’ve played in 2017. Their 7-17 record away from Oakland is second worst in the American League.

The A’s took Friday’s series opener 4-1 but dropped the final two to the AL East leaders.

“I’ve said often, there’s a psychology to it too,” manager Bob Melvin said. “You feel like you have a chance to battle and come back and score some runs, and when your defense is poor, sometimes mentally it’s tough to overcome or get past it. We just have to keep working on it.”

Leading 5-2, New York added to its lead in the fourth with help from a Josh Phegley throwing error on Aaron Hicks’ stolen base. Hicks wound up on third and came home on Chris Carter’s sacrifice fly. The A’s pulled to within 7-5 on Khris Davis’ 15th homer which in the eighth, a two-run shot. But the Yankees answered right back with two more off reliever John Axford, who hurt his cause with two walks.

There were other mishaps that didn’t cost the A’s runs, like Davis making a poor throw to third that allowed a Yankee runner to advance an extra base, and third baseman Ryon Healy losing a foul pop up in the sun.

Regardless of the defensive issues, A’s starter Andrew Triggs wasn’t looking to hand off blame. Just one of the six runs he allowed was earned over his six innings. But Triggs still had a chance to preserve a 2-1 lead in the third if he could have retired Judge with two outs and the bases loaded. Instead he left a 2-1 sinker over the plate and Judge mashed it over the right field wall.

“In my mind it was either sinker away or sinker in, and I thought away was better,” Triggs said. “But you gotta execute the pitch and I didn’t.”

It was the first career grand slam for Judge, who was drafted in the 31st round out of high school by Oakland in 2010 but opted to attend Fresno State. The Yankees took him in the first round in 2013, and in clubbing his 16th homer Sunday (tying him with Mike Trout for the league lead), Judge continued building his strong early case for the Rookie of the Year award.

A's fall short of series win vs Yankees after Judge's grand slam

A's fall short of series win vs Yankees after Judge's grand slam

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NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge hit his first career grand slam and the New York Yankees took full advantage of Oakland's shoddy defense Sunday in a 9-5 victory over the Athletics.

Michael Pineda (6-2) tossed six innings of three-hit ball to win his third straight start. Aaron Hicks and Chris Carter each had an early sacrifice fly as the AL East leaders scored five unearned runs and took two of three in a well-pitched series.

Judge connected with two outs in the third for his 16th home run, tying Mike Trout of the Angels for the big league lead. The drive landed in the right-field seats, not far in front of The Judge's Chambers cheering section installed by the Yankees for the 6-foot-7 rookie at the start of this 4-2 homestand.

Khris Davis hit his 15th home run for the A's, who committed two more costly errors to raise their season total to 49. They began the day with 10 more than any other team in the majors.

The fielding failures put starter Andrew Triggs (5-4) in tough situations. He went six innings and gave up one earned run - but even that could have been prevented if not for a poor throw by the weak-armed Davis in left.

Gary Sanchez added an RBI double in the seventh that squirmed out of the glove of a diving Davis. Brett Gardner drove in two insurance runs with a pop-fly double in the eighth.

Adam Warren retired all four batters he faced for his first save since July 28, 2015.

The Yankees trailed 2-1 when Ronald Torreyes reached on a soft infield single leading off the third, and Sanchez singled with one out. Matt Joyce then dropped Matt Holliday's fly ball in the right-field corner for an error that loaded the bases.

After Starlin Castro struck out, Judge lined a fastball the other way to put New York ahead. Triggs had given up just three home runs in his first nine starts this year.

Hicks stole second in the fourth and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Josh Phegley. That set up Carter's sacrifice fly, which made it 6-2.

And while Triggs' defense was betraying him, New York's fielders gave Pineda a big boost when he needed it.

With nobody out in the second, Ryon Healy was thrown out by Gardner trying to stretch a two-run single to left field. Torreyes followed with a diving play at third base.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: 1B Yonder Alonso was back in the lineup after missing three games with a sore right wrist. ... CF Rajai Davis was rested in favor of Mark Canha, who batted leadoff for the first time in his major league career. ... One-time closer Sean Doolittle, on the DL since April 30 with a strained left shoulder, threw 20 pitches Saturday and felt good, according to manager Bob Melvin. "So we'll figure out the next step here in the next day or so," Melvin said. ... Oakland plans to put RHP Kendall Graveman (shoulder) on the 10-day disabled list Monday and recall RHP Daniel Mengden from Triple-A Nashville to make his first big league start of the season in Cleveland.

Yankees: Slumping 3B Chase Headley was given a second consecutive day off to work on his swing. He'll return to the lineup Monday, manager Joe Girardi said. ... All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman (shoulder) was scheduled to throw for the second straight day before a day off in his program Monday.

UP NEXT

Athletics: The 24-year-old Mengden began the season on the disabled list following surgery on his right foot. He was activated May 20 and optioned to Triple-A Nashville. Including his rehab assignment, Mengden is 2-1 with a 2.21 ERA in four Triple-A starts this year. He reached the majors for the first time last season and went 2-9 with a 6.50 ERA in 14 starts for Oakland. RHP Carlos Carrasco (4-2, 2.93) pitches for the AL champion Indians.

Yankees: Begin a seven-game road trip Monday afternoon in Baltimore, with rookie LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-3, 4.30 ERA) on the mound against Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy (5-3, 2.92).