The Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of the A’s offense is rearing its head in Kansas City.
One day after bashing out a season-high 20 hits and scoring 11 runs, they were completely shut down by Royals lefty Jason Vargas, who threw a three-hitter in a 3-0 victory over the A’s.
The A’s recorded two hits in the first and then got a leadoff single from Jed Lowrie in the second. That was hit, as Vargas retired 23 consecutive hitters through the end of the game for his sixth career shutout. He faced just two over the minimum in a game that took just two hours and six minutes to complete.
Oakland scored just twice in a 3-2 loss to the Royals in the series opener. That came after they generated just one run Sunday against the Twins. Then they broke out big-time in Tuesday’s lopsided victory, only to get dominated by Vargas, a lefty who improved to 9-5 on the season.
Starting pitching report
Scott Kazmir (13-5) gave the A’s seven solid innings, surrendering seven hits, striking out three and walking one. There wasn’t much he could do given the way his teammates swung the bats Wednesday.
After Norichika Aoki singled in th third, Kazmir fell behind Omar Infante 2-0 and Infante ripped a fastball down the middle for a two-run homer. In the fifth, the Royals put up another run they barely left the infield against Kazmir.
Christian Colon led off with an infield single, Aoki sacrificed him over and then Infante beat out an infield single to short to put runners on the corners. Salvador Perez followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
Jesse Chavez threw a scoreless inning as it was a quiet night otherwise for the A’s bullpen.
At the plate
The A’s couldn’t cash in during the first, when Josh Donaldson doubled with two outs and Jonny Gomes beat out an infield single. Derek Norris went down swinging to end the threat.
In the field
The A’s committed two errors, though neither one came back to hurt them. Coco Crisp mishandled a ball in center in the first that allowed Aoki to advance to third, but Kazmir struck out Alex Gordon on a 94-mile-per-hour fastball to end that rally.
The A’s and Royals wrap up this four-game series Thursday with an 11:10 a.m. PST game. Jeff Samardzija (3-1, 3.08) matches up against James Shields (11-6, 3.25), who held Oakland to four hits over eight innings in an Aug. 3 game at the Coliseum.