OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — There was plenty of blame to go around after Oakland’s stunning loss to Kansas City, one that prevented the Athletics from adding on to their lead in the AL wild-card race.
A costly error in the ninth inning by center fielder Ramon Laureano. Manager Bob Melvin’s decision to lift hot-hitting first baseman Matt Olson for a pinch-runner an inning earlier.
Liam Hendriks pointed the finger at himself.
Brett Phillips hit a tying home run off Hendricks in the ninth, Adalberto Mondesi followed with an RBI double and the Kansas City Royals beat Oakland 6-5 on Monday night to end the Athletics’ six-game winning streak.
“It felt like I was making some pitches when I needed to but not enough,” Hendriks said. “I fell behind a couple times and had to kind of groove them a fastball. At the end of the day I didnt get the job done and the team paid for it.”
Oakland’s lead over Tampa Bay for the top AL wild card was cut to one game. Cleveland is 1 1/2 games behind the Rays.
Khris Davis’ RBI single off Kevin McCarthy (4-2) gave Oakland a 5-4 lead in the eighth.
Phillips homered on a 2-0 fastball from Hendriks (4-3) with one out in the ninth, Hendriks’ sixth blown save in 28 chances.
“Ball was down the middle to Phillips and Mondesi hit a pretty good pitch the other way for a double,” Melvin said. “He’s been absolutely fantastic for us. Every now and then you’re going to blow a save.”
Whit Merrifield reached when Laureano allowed his drive to pop out of the pocket of his glove at the front of the warning track for an error. Mondesi sliced an opposite-field double to left.
“Just looked like he turned around and once he turned back around he just picked it up a little late,” Melvin said.
Marcus Semien singled leading off the bottom half for Oakland but Ian Kennedy retired his next three batters for his 30th save in 35 chances, giving the Royals’ Ned Yost his 1,200th win in 16 seasons as a major league manager.
Kennedy struck out Chad Pinder to end it. Pinder had replaced Olson in the batting order.
At 56-95, the Royals are trying to avoid their second straight 100-loss season.
“That’s a good team over there,” Yost said. “It’s hard to fall back four runs early because you knows runs are going to be tough to come by.”
Jorge Soler homered leading off the fourth, tying injured Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout for the AL lead with his 45th home run.
Alex Gordon had two RBIs.
Laureano made back-to-back strong throws to the plate in the first, including one on the fly, to keep Mondesi at third after Mondesi’s RBI triple.
ONE MORE THAN RICKEY
Semien’s home run was his 29th while batting first in the order, breaking the A’s record he shared with Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, who watched the game in lower box seats. “I thought it was cool that he was here today, too, just sitting right behind home plate,” Semien said.
Oakland starter Tanner Roark struck out eight in 4 2/3 innings but allowed four runs and seven hits. Kansas City’s Glenn Sparkman also had a short night and allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings. He threw two wild pitches and hit a batter.
BEGINNING OF THE END
There were concerns the game might be postponed due to field conditions following an NFL game Sunday and rain Monday. The infield still had football markings and there were large dark patches of dead grass in center field, which bore the weight of stands that were removed overnight. It’s the final time the A’s will have to deal with the situation after having shared the Coliseum with the Oakland Raiders since 1995. The Raiders won’t play at the Coliseum again until Nov. 3, well after the A’s season has ended, and are moving to Las Vegas next year.
Athletics: RHP Mike Fiers is getting further testing for nerve irritation in his right arm but the A’s are hopeful their top pitcher can throw a bullpen Tuesday and won’t have to miss his turn in the rotation.
A’s LHP Brett Anderson (12-9, 4.07 ERA) has already set a career high for wins going into Tuesday’s start against the Royals. RHP Jorge López (4-7, 6.09) is riding a three-game road winning streak for Kansas City.