Athletics

Instant Replay: Hahn hit early, A's can't muster enough off Royals

Instant Replay: Hahn hit early, A's can't muster enough off Royals

BOX SCORE

KANSAS CITY – Jason Vargas was a regular thorn in the A’s side when he pitched in the American League West.

They were reacquainted with the left-hander Thursday, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience. The A’s advanced just one runner as far as second base against Vargas in a 3-1 loss that denied them a sweep at Kauffman Stadium and snapped their eight-game winning streak against the Royals.

Vargas (2-0) was primarily responsible for that, limiting Oakland to four hits over 7 2/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked just one. Meanwhile, the Royals did their damage early off Jesse Hahn, scoring all the runs they would need inside of the first three innings.

Vargas, who spent four seasons with Seattle and one with the Angels, has thrown four complete games against Oakland and entered with a 3.22 ERA against them in 20 games (18 starts). The A’s carried just a .215 batting average against Vargas into the game.

Tensions ran high in the second inning when Ryon Healy exchanged words at home plate with Royals catcher Salvador Perez. Healy seemed to take exception to an inside pitch from Vargas, and he and Perez began jawing briefly before home plate umpire Mark Wegner stepped between them.

The A’s finished their first road trip of the season 3-3 and flew back to Oakland after the game to begin a 10-game homestand, all games against the AL West.

Starting pitching report

Five batters into the bottom of the first, four Royals had singled and two had scored off Hahn (0-1), suggesting it would be a short night for Oakland’s right-hander in his first major league start of the season. Hahn steadied himself, however, and wound up with a very respectable pitching line. He lasted six innings and gave up three runs on six hits, striking out seven and walking two. No doubt he’ll want to make things easier on himself in the early going, but he certainly earned another start after he was tapped to replace Raul Alcantara as the No. 5 man in the rotation.

Bullpen report

Daniel Coulombe and Ryan Madson each threw a scoreless inning in relief of Hahn.

At the plate

Rajai Davis helped the A’s avoid a shutout when he lined a homer to left to lead off the ninth against Royals closer Kelvin Herrera, his first home run since returning to Oakland. Other than that, the A’s went quietly with the bats. They mustered just six hits total. Besides Davis’ homer, only two hitters reached as far as second base.

In the field

A familiar problem has already reared its ugly head, as the A’s are committing too many errors in the first two weeks of the season. After two Thursday night, they’ve totaled an American League-high 11. Their miscues Thursday were very avoidable. Mark Canha, drawing the start in right field, simply dropped Eric Hosmer’s liner. That came after he made an adventure of Lorenzo Cain’s liner an inning before. Hahn committed the other error, when he covered first on a grounder and couldn’t handle an easy flip from Ryon Healy. A’s pitchers have committed five errors already. They committed just nine all of last season.

Attendance

The announced turnout was 22,160.

Up next

Josh Reddick makes his return to Oakland when the Astros begin a three-game series at the Coliseum on Friday night. Kendall Graveman (2-0, 2.08) goes in the opener against lefty Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 0.64), with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. Saturday: Sean Manaea (0-1, 7.15) vs. Lance McCullers (1-0, 2.77), 1:05 p.m. Sunday: Jharel Cotton (1-1, 3.97) vs. Charlie Morton (0-1, 4.09), 1:05 p.m.

Young A’s fan writes letter to team after fires take home, beloved memorabilia

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Twitter @KatieUtehs

Young A’s fan writes letter to team after fires take home, beloved memorabilia

Young Athletics fan Loren Jade Smith is among the thousands of people affected by the Northern California wildfires. Along with his family's home, the fire storm took his most valued possession -- his A's memorabilia collection. 

In his disappointment, Smith wrote a letter to the A's that has since gone viral. 

After the letter was shared throughout the Twitterverse, A's President Dave Kaval said the team would reach out to Jade and his family to replace his memorabilia. 

And since Kaval's announcement, the A's community of fans has responded with offers to send the young fan some memorabilia. The A's have even set up an address where fans can send Smith their gifts. 

Who can we blame for epidemic of teams losing three straight elimination games?

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AP

Who can we blame for epidemic of teams losing three straight elimination games?

Fox’ Matt Vasgersian, who does his job well,  declared the New York Yankees’ American League Division Series win over Cleveland to be amazing.

It is not. Not any more.

In fact, the Yankees winning three elimination games in succession is a feat that has happened seven times in the past three years. And we can only conclude from that that they’re not making teams that can avoid the bad beat the way they used to.

The 2017 Indians joined the 2016 Indians, Warriors and Thunder, the 2015 Clippers, Capitals and Texas Rangers, the 2014 Penguins and Sharks, the 2013 Red Wings, the 2012 Reds and Cardinals, the 2011 Penguins, the 2010 Bruins and Capitals as proud laryngectomy victims – teams that needed to win only one of three (or in the Sharks’ case, four) games to advance in the playoffs (or in the Warriors’ case, win).

That’s 15 times this “amazing” thing has happened, which means that by any estimate, teams that needed to win three consecutive games to escape the icy hand of Uncle Death are now pretty much the norm in this decade.

And why, you ask? I blame Twitter. I blame global warming. I blame video games. I blame smartphones. I blame phones. I blame the new president. I blame the old president. I blame Satan. I blame participation trophies and orange slices and juice boxes. I blame the players and I blame the owners and I blame the fans and definitely those smarmy bastards in the media. They’re the worst.

I blame you. Hell, I think I blame Matt Vasgersian.

But whomever is at fault, we have here an epidemic of feet strangling their owners when everything seems their cheeriest. And unless we live in such misery-enriched times that good times are only precursors to far worse ones, there is no sensible explanation. Players’ windpipes are no smaller than they were a decade ago. The Internet is older than seven years. Close-out games are not materially more difficult than they were before 2010.

And yet winning that one extra game is suddenly like finding out your SAT test has been written totally in anagrams. In other words, when things look brightest, that’s when you know you’re totally screwed.

And if you don’t believe me, ask Terry Francona. In a few weeks maybe. Not right away. Not unless you’re keen to see how it feels to have your neck used as a bathmat.