Morales, Gordon power Royals past A's
Jun. 27, 2015
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Considering what happened two months ago, Kansas City manager Ned Yost wasn't shocked to hear fans at the Coliseum booing Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera when he came on to pitch the eighth inning.
If anything, Yost was impressed by the jeers — almost as much as he was with how Herrera handled it.
"Yeah I kind of expected it. I kind of respect it," Yost said after Kansas City's 5-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
"That's what's fun about this game," he said. "But what was cool was it didn't affect Herrera at all. He came in his usual self, banging strikes at 98, 99, 100 mph."
Herrera was one of the main players involved in a series-long fracas between the two teams when they played earlier this season. He was suspended five games after throwing a 100 mph fastball behind Oakland's Brett Lawrie and then pointing to his head while being escorted off the field.
This time around Herrera didn't come close to anything controversial. He retired all three batters he faced without incident.
"As a player you've got to try to stay calm," Herrera said. "When things are going fast, that's the time to slow down."
Unlike when these two teams met in April, when there were bench-clearing scuffles in all three games, there were no signs of lingering animosity. A few players from both clubs exchanged hugs and handshakes before the game, and both managers downplayed talk of any carry-over effect.
Instead the Royals rode the power of Kendrys Morales and Alex Gordon, and got another strong outing from Edinson Volquez.
Morales and Gordon homered while Volquez pitched seven innings to earn his fourth consecutive win.
Pitching against the A's for the first time since 2007, Volquez (8-4) gave up three hits and one run in seven innings. Volquez also reached 1,000 strikeouts for his career when he fanned Brett Lawrie in the sixth.
"I've been in the big leagues a long time, and that's like a goal," Volquez said. "I finally got it."
Sam Fuld had an RBI double for Oakland, which had its five-game win streak snapped.
Greg Holland retired two batters for his 15th save.
It was these teams' first meeting since that wild series in April.
Lawrie was at the center of much of it when the teams played in Kansas City. His hard slide into second base knocked Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar out of the first game. Two days later, Herrera was ejected after throwing a 100 mph fastball behind Lawrie.
There were no sparks this time around, although Franklin Morales hit Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt with a pitch in the ninth.
"Fortunately it's not broken," Vogt said. "It got me in the wrist and the hand. Obviously, it was painful, but I'll be OK."
Beyond that, there was nothing to suggest there was any animosity left between the teams. Oakland slugger Billy Butler hugged former teammate Eric Hosmer behind home plate during batting practice, and both managers were reluctant to even discuss the incident.
"Nobody on my team has even mentioned it or thought about it, and I doubt very seriously anybody over there has," Yost said before the game. "There's been a lot of time since that series and a lot of water under the bridge."
Morales homered off A's starter Jesse Hahn in the second, his ninth of the season.
Lorenzo Cain's two-out single in the third made it 2-0, and Hosmer followed with an infield single to drive in Escobar. Oakland first baseman Ike Davis fielded Hosmer's grounder but made a botched flip to Hahn (5-6) covering first base for an error, allowing Cain to score from second.
Fuld doubled in Marcus Semien in the third. Ben Zobrist added an RBI double for Oakland off Franklin Morales in the ninth.
Royals: Cain was back in the lineup after sitting out Wednesday's game in Seattle with a sore hamstring. ... LHP Jason Vargas (flexor strain) is scheduled to throw on the side again and "continues to make progress," according to Yost.
Royals: RHP Chris Young (6-3) starts the middle game of the series and is coming off his worst outing of the season, when he gave up seven runs in 4 2-3 innings against Boston.
Athletics: LHP Scott Kazmir (4-4) has a 1.27 ERA in six starts at the Coliseum this season, the lowest mark at home in the majors.