KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Oakland manager Bob Melvin knew it was going to take the A’s offense finally coming out of its slump to end a maddening nine-game losing streak.
The A’s managed to come through against the Kansas City Royals — given a little bit of help.
Josh Reddick and Adam Rosales each drove in a pair of runs, and the Athletics took advantage of three errors by Kansas City on their way to a 9-3 victory in a Saturday matinee.
“It was good that we could contribute some runs,” Melvin said, “and then add to it.”
Brandon McCarthy (4-3) came off the disabled list to throw six innings, Jemile Weeks reached base four times and Reddick’s two-run triple came during a four-run fifth inning, which broke open a close game and allowed Oakland to win for the first time since May 21.
The A’s nine runs surpassed their total from the previous six games combined.
“We haven’t felt like that in a while,” Reddick said. “The dugout atmosphere was a lot better.”
One of the worst offenses in baseball hardly looked like it against Luke Hochevar (3-6), who has become something of a salve for scuffling attacks. The former first overall draft pick allowed six runs in 4 2-3 innings, the sixth time he’s failed to get past the fifth this season.
Hochevar now has a 6.63 ERA, among the worst in the majors.
“It was sloppy all the way around,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We had some opportunities to score some runs and we didn’t capitalize on it. We made some errors that ended up hurting us in the scoring department for them. It was just one of those days that wasn’t very good.”
McCarthy picked up where he left off when he went on the DL with a strained right shoulder, working out of trouble whenever it presented itself. The A’s right-hander matched a career high with his fourth straight win, and hasn’t lost since April 21 against Cleveland.
“I was happy I was able to get that deep in the game,” said McCarthy, who was unaware that Melvin had put an 80-pitch limit on him. He wound up throwing 71.
“I was hoping for five innings and he gave us six,” Melvin said. “That’s what he does.”
Eric Hosmer, Jeff Francoeur and Yuniesky Betancourt each drove in a run for the Royals, who were also hurt by a wild pitch and passed ball on top of their three errors.
As if things weren’t going bad enough, they appeared to miss out on another run when plate umpire Paul Schrieber called Francoeur out at home on a flyball in the sixth. Replays showed that A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki missed the tag by a wide margin, and Yost argued in vain.
Yost grew more incensed with Schrieber the next half inning when the umpire got into an argument with Royals catcher Humberto Quintero in the middle of an at-bat. Schrieber tossed him from the game for arguing about balls and strikes, bringing Yost out to argue again.
“For me to sit here and talk about an umpire’s call — have you seen the replay?” he said. “It would have helped us get another run and maybe helped us gain some momentum, but it just wasn’t the case. We didn’t have a good day today and I’ll stick with that.”
Just as things were souring for Kansas City, they were finally perking up for Oakland.
After scoring 12 runs total during their nine-game skid, the Athletics put one on the board in the first inning on Weeks’ leadoff triple and an RBI groundout by Collin Cowgill.
It was the first run scored by the A’s in 19 innings.
The Royals matched it on Francoeur’s two-out single later in the first, but Oakland pulled back ahead in the fourth. Yoenis Cespedes led off with a double, went to third when center fielder Jarrod Dyson bobbled the ball, and scored when Hochevar unfurled a wild pitch.
Oakland piled on in the sixth, starting with Reddick’s two-run triple.
Cespedes added a run-scoring single, and after Hochevar was finally lifted — receiving a chorus of boos and some sarcastic cheering en route to the dugout — Kila Ka’aihue met reliever Tim Collins with an RBI double to right field, giving the A’s a 6-1 lead.
The Royals tacked on runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but Oakland added three more in the eighth after errors by Betancourt and Alcides Escobar, helping the A’s wrap up the win.
“We were just in a rut,” Ka’aihue said. “Everybody goes through it, individually and as a team. We know it’s a long season. We have a lot more times to do this.”