Olson, A’s rough up Kowar as Athletics romp past Royals 11-2
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Matt Olson had four hits, including his 16th home run, and the Oakland Athletics roughed up Kansas City rookie Jackson Kowar in romping past the Royals 11-2 on Saturday.
Matt Chapman also connected and drove in three runs. Skye Bolt added his first career home run as the A’s improved to 11-2 against teams from the AL Central.
“The last two days it’s nice to get some results and find ways to help the team win,” said Chapman, who had three hits in Oakland’s 4-3 win on Friday. “We’ve had some guys grinding, carrying the weight so it’s nice to do my part. We’ve got a good team, we’re in first place, and I want to do what I can to help.”
James Kaprielian (3-1) overcame control issues and pitched two-hit ball over six innings for the A’s.
The highly touted Kowar (0-2) was tagged for four runs on five hits and three walks in just 1 1/3 innings.
The 33rd overall pick in 2018, Kowar made his major league debut last Monday and got only two outs against the Angels, allowing four runs on three hits, two walks and three wild pitches.
“He’s fighting to get his spikes in the dirt and feel comfortable out there,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “I know there’s more in there. We’re wanting him to get comfortable and trust his stuff, which right now is easier said than done.”
Kowar has a 36.00 ERA after two starts but doesn’t feel he’s that far off.
“There’s just some simple things that I didn’t do very well,” Kowar said. “I don’t know how many times, if any, I threw strike one, which is stuff that you do since high school. It’s hard to get anybody out where you’re constantly 1-0.”
Kelvin Gutiérrez homered for Kansas City, which has lost seven of eight.
Olson had singles in the first and sixth innings, doubled in a run in the second and homered off Wade Davis as part of Oakland’s five-run eighth.
Chapman lined a two-run double off the left-field wall against Kowar in the second, then hit an opposite-field home run off Carlos Hernández in the sixth. It’s Chapman’s first home run since May 5.
Bolt hit his home run leading off the eighth.
Acquired from the Yankees in 2017 as part of a trade that sent pitcher Sonny Gray to New York, Kaprielian walked a career-high four but had seven strikeouts and retired the final eight he faced after back-to-back walks in the fourth.
“I take pride in being able to pitch out of jams and I did another good job of that today,” Kaprielian said. “I can’t be walking guys. That just can’t happen, and I did that too many times today.”
Kaprielian twice pitched out of bases-loaded jams, getting Andrew Benintendi to pop out to end the second and Nicky Lopez to ground out in the third.
“Probably in the middle innings he really struggled with his command some, then finds a way to get through it,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He was able to put it behind him and go out there and compete. He’s had a way of wiggling out of some innings the entire year.”
Jesús Luzardo retired five batters and allowed Gutiérrez’s home run. Sergio Romo got the final out in the eighth and Cam Bedrosian pitched the ninth to complete the five-hitter.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy came out of his latest throwing session feeling well, although Matheny again declined to set a timetable for Duffy’s return. “I don’t imagine we’d even talk about anything until we’ve given him live action or multiple innings of live action,” Matheny said. “He felt really good yesterday and was excited about being able to throw all his pitches.” … Matheny said “there’s realistic hope” that INF Adalberto Mondesi (left hamstring strain) will come off the IL when the Royals return to Kansas City to begin a six-game homestand Monday.
Athletics: Leadoff batter Mark Canha was given the day off. … RHP Mike Fiers has taken a pause in his throwing program after feeling some discomfort in his most recent workout while recovering from a sprained right elbow. Melvin wouldn’t call it a setback because Fiers has yet to throw off a mound.
A’s RHP Chris Bassitt (6-2, 3.44 ERA) takes a career-high six-game winning streak into Sunday’s series finale. It will be Bassitt’s second start against Kansas City. LHP Kris Bubic (1-1, 3.32) goes for the Royals. Bubic has 22 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings as a starter.
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