Ventura hit hard in Royals’ 8-0 loss to Athletics
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals may be angry, but that is not converting into many September victories.
Yonder Alonso and Marcus Semien hit two-run doubles as the Oakland Athletics beat Kansas City 8-0 for the third straight game on Wednesday night to further ruin the Royals’ postseason chances.
The 2015 World Series champion Royals are five games out in the American League wild card with 17 games left and would have to climb over five teams.
"I think our guys were really fired up coming into today," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "There was some anger in that locker room today before the game, so I don’t feel any deflation. Guys are upset that we lost those games. They’re not pointing any fingers because they know that we win as a team and lose as a team. They’re not happy with it."
The Royals, who have lost seven of their past eight home games, did not have a runner reach third base. A nine-game winning streak in August propelled the Royals back in the playoff hunt, but the recent losses have all but ended their chances of returning to the postseason for the third straight year.
"It’s just been frustrating," said Eric Hosmer, who had two of the Royals hits. "But we have no choice but to come in here and keep pushing, keep working and see if we can turn it around. Honestly, that’s what’s so frustrating about it is guys are coming in and doing what they need to do and it’s just not happening on the field.
"You can’t really point the finger. You can’t blame anybody. Everyone’s coming in, grinding, doing what they gotta do in trying to prepare themselves for the game. The game’s just tough on you sometimes and it’s extremely tough on us now."
Alonso’s two-run, eighth-inning laser pinch double Tuesday lifted the A’s to victory. Alonso’s broken-bat double in the first scored Danny Valencia and Stephen Vogt.
— FOX Sports KC (@FSKansasCity) September 15, 2016
A’s rookie left-hander Sean Manaea (5-9) picked up his first career road victory, retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced in five scoreless innings, striking out five and walking one. Manaea, who had not pitched since Aug. 29, when he left in the fourth inning with a strained left rhomboid, was removed after 67 pitches. The A’s acquired Manaea from the Royals in July 2015 as part of the Ben Zobrist trade.
Yordano Ventura (10-11) threw 39 pitches, 28 after getting two outs, in a three-run third. Ventura retired the first two batters and then gave up five consecutive hits, two of them doubles. Semien’s double scored Alonso and Ryon Healy. Bruce Maxwell’s single scored Semien.
"I was trying to be a little too fine and I was falling behind in the count," Ventura said through an interpreter.
Ventura was pulled after 4 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits, four walks, a hit batter and two wild pitches. He has yielded 17 hits and nine runs in 11 1/3 innings over past two starts, both of which have been losses.
Khris Davis delivered a two-out, two-run eighth inning single and scored on Healy’s single to cap off the scoring.
Oakland relievers John Axford, Liam Hendriks and Chris Smith held the Royals to one single the final four innings. The A’s bullpen has restricted the Royals to one run and three hits over 12 1/3 innings in the first three games.
"Manaea did a great job of pitching, as did their whole staff," Yost said. "You know, Ventura was out there competing his tail off. He just struggled to command the secondary stuff and his fastball."
STICKING WITH SORIA
While RHP Joakim Soria is 0-3 with three blown saves and a 9.00 ERA in seven games since August 30, Royals manager Ned Yost said he is not forsaking him. "Jack’s had great outings and he’s had bad outings," Yost said. "Yeah, he’s had a rough year. The thing that is so puzzling to him is he feels good. It’s just one of those things."
The Royals asked for unconditional release waivers on Rey Fuentes, who was their opening day starting right fielder after hitting .386 in spring training. Fuentes hit .317 in 13 games and 44 plate-appearances with Kansas City. He spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he hit .254 and swiped 17 bases in 22 attempts.
Athletics: RHP Daniel Mengden, who is 0-2 with a 10.57 ERA in two September starts, faces the Royals for the first time.
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez, who has won his past three decisions against the A’s, starts the series finale.