OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Edinson Volquez preferred going six innings with fewer strikeouts than lasting five with double-digit strikeouts.
Kendrys Morales had three hits and got his 500th career RBI to help the Kansas City Royals win their fourth straight, beating the Oakland Athletics 4-2 Friday night, in a game broadcast on KTTN AM 1600 and KTTN FM 92.3.
Volquez (2-0) pitched six innings, retiring seven of the last eight batters he faced. He gave up two runs on four hits, walking four and striking out two. Eric Hosmer homered and Lorenzo Cain also each drove in a run for the Royals.
“The game plan was for me to get more ground balls,” said Volquez, who struck out 10 in his previous start against Minnesota. “I get in trouble when I strike out people so I went to more contact and stayed longer in the game. That was the idea but I walked four guys.”
Morales walked in his first at bat and then singled in his next three appearances. He entered the game with a .182 average and three hits in his previous 18 at bats.
Stephen Vogt homered, singled twice and scored both runs for the A’s, who lost their fourth straight and fell to 1-7 at home.
Rich Hill (1-2) struggled through 4 1/3 innings, allowing three runs and nine hits. He needed 106 pitches to get through his outing. Hill walked three and struck out six.
“If we have to go to the bullpen in the fifth inning, I’m just not doing my job,” Hill said. “It’s disappointing when you have to go to the pen early.”
Alcides Escobar reversed field, grabbed a ball barehanded that hit off Volquez and threw out Jed Lowrie in the fourth, potentially stopping an A’s rally. Khris Davis singled home Vogt in the next at bat.
Royals: INF Mike Moustakas was given scheduled time off, a day after going 2-for-4 with a home run Thursday. He’s been dealing with a hamstring issue, though Royals manager Ned Yost said it’s something he’s been dealing with for awhile. Moustakas is a career .151 hitter in 31 games against the A’s, with 19 strikeouts and 16 hits. He’s hitting .140 in Oakland.
Athletics: INF Eric Sogard returned to Oakland from his rehab assignment in Stockton to get an MRI on his left knee, which has bothered him off and on since spring training. “He felt some discomfort,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s popped up enough that it’s worrisome.” Sogard went on the DL with a cervical strain. … RHP Henderson Alvarez (right shoulder injury) completed a 30-pitch simulated game on Friday. “He’s ramping it up,” Melvin said. “It looks like he could be in a game.”
Yost presented A’s RHP Ryan Madson with his World Series ring before Friday’s series opener between the teams.
“It’s always special when you give somebody something he’s worked all his life for,” Yost said. “It’s exciting that he did something special.”
Madson was an important part of the Royals bullpen last year, going 1-2 with a 2.13 ERA and three saves. He also had 20 holds.
Madson earned the victory in Game 4 of the World Series with a perfect inning, striking out two.
THE NINE HOLE
A’s shortstop Marcus Semien‘s early-season power is not by chance and he gives Melvin the option of batting him ninth in the order.
“We knew he had power and it’s showed up with what he’s done with his hands,” Melvin said. “You’re constantly tinkering, making adjustments. I like the speed-power dynamic in the nine hole. It’s a real luxury to have.”
Royals: RHP Chris Young (0-2, 7.45) makes Saturday’s start for Kansas City. He’s 4-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 12 appearances, 11 starts, against the A’s.
Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (1-1, 2.70) starts for Oakland on Saturday. He’s 0-2 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts against the Royals.