The Oakland Athletics came up just short in their comeback attempt Saturday night as the Kansas City Royals won 4-3 on a Mike Aviles sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth. The A’s had come back from a 3-0 deficit before the Royals scratched across the late run, sending the A’s once again back to .500 at 17-17.
Brandon McCarthy threw a complete game as he was as efficient as ever in spite of giving up the four runs. The Royals grabbed their first three runs in the sixth inning on four singles and two sacrifices.
Normally that would be enough to finish the A’s, and Luke Hochevar was pitching like that would be enough. Hochevar had given up three hits in six innings when he came out for the seventh inning. He gave up a lead-off single to Andy LaRoche, at which point he was pulled. Aaron Crow came on in relief and proceeded to give up a single to Ryan Sweeney and then a three-run home run to Cliff Pennington, tying the game at three.
Things remained tied heading into the bottom of the ninth, when Billy Butler led off the inning with a single. The Royals then inserted the speedy Jarrod Dyson as a pinch-runner. Jeff Francoeur followed that with a single, which got Dyson to third with nobody out. McCarthy intentionally walked Royals phenom Eric Hosmer to load the bases. Mike Aviles then hit a flyball to short left field. Dyson tagged up and scored fairly easily. The A’s got after home plate umpire Bill Miller claiming Dyson left third early, but Miller would have none of it, and that was the game.
The A’s and Royals square off in the rubber match of this series Sunday afternoon at 11:10am pacific. Tyson Ross will square off with Jeff Francis on CSN California.