Baseball / Sports

Oakland Athletics pitcher Jon Lester underhands the ball to first base to retire the Kansas City Royals' Nori Aoki in the first inning at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Jon Lester gets win in A's debut against Royals

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The three trade-deadline acquisitions who were introduced as the newest members of the A's wasted little time a day later in making major contributions in Saturday's 8-3 victory over Kansas City.

Starter Jon Lester held the Royals to one run while the game was close, then gave up two runs after the A's had scored eight times in the fifth. Jonny Gomes had two hits in that fifth inning rally, including a bases-loaded single. And Sam Fuld, who contributed a bunt single to the rally, also threw out a runner at the plate to keep Kansas City from expanding an early 1-0 lead.

The A's got Lester and Gomes in a trade that sent Yoenis Cespedes and his 17 homers and 67 RBIs to Boston. Oakland added Fuld by trading left-handed starter Tommy Milone to the Minnesota Twins.

Lester wasn't at the top of his game, giving up three runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. Two starts previous, also against the Royals, he allowed four hits and no runs in a 6-0 victory while pitching for the Boston Red Sox.

But he showed the grit he's known for by holding the Royals at one run after Salvador Perez's sacrifice fly in the third. He was in a first-and-third, one-out jam in the fourth when Mike Moustakas lined out to center. Fuld, making his second start since returning to Oakland, caught the ball and fired a left-handed strike to the plate where catcher Derek Norris slapped a tag on Alex Gordon to keep the game from getting out of hand.

And a 2-0 lead might have been classified as "out of hand" given that the A's came into the game scoreless in their previous 16 innings, then getting no one on base in the first four before erupting for eight runs in the fifth.

Lester and Gomes were heartily cheered in pregame introductions. And Lester got a rousing ovation when he left with the A's en route to their 67th win in 109 games.

The A's were going nowhere in the first four innings against Royals starter Jason Vargas. Oakland didn't have a single one of its 12 batters reach base. Then came the fifth inning and the A's couldn't help getting on base against Vargas and, eventually, the Royals bullpen.

Norris opened with a double, and Gomes caught some luck when Kansas City first baseman Billy Butler lost Gomes' pop fly in the sun. The ball fell for a single. Stephen Vogt tried to bunt the runners up a base, but failed, then saw Alberto Callaspo tie the score with a single.

That seemed to loosen the collective collars for the A's, who suddenly could do no wrong. Josh Reddick singled to give the A's the lead. Nick Punto singled for a run. Fuld bunted for a single to load the bases, and Jed Lowrie's infield single brought in a run, although Punto hurt himself getting back to third base and had to come out of the game with what was described as a right hamstring injury.

Josh Donaldson picked up an RBI with a walk against reliever Aaron Crow, and Gomes single brought home two more before Gordon's misplay in left field made it a three-run performance for Gomes, getting the score to 8-1.

Lester came out of the game in the seventh inning after back-to-back RBI hits with two out by Nori Aoki and Christian Colon.

(c)2014 The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.)

Visit The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.) at www.insidebayarea.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

----


Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus