OAKLAND — On a night the Royals needed a deep and quality start, Mike Minor delivered.
The veteran left-hander dazzled in seven innings against the A’s on Thursday night, allowing just one run and striking out eight in Kansas City’s 6-1 win at Oakland Coliseum, snapping a five-game losing streak and opening the four-game set with a victory.
After allowing three home runs in a back-and-forth game against the Twins last week, Minor had everything working Thursday night and limited the damage to just one homer — Jed Lowrie’s solo shot in the fourth on an inside curveball. Other than that, Minor kept the A’s off-balance with his fastball (12 whiffs and nine called strikes), changeup, curveball and slider, all of which kept the A’s offense guessing for much of the night.
Entering Thursday, Minor was 1-5 with a 7.11 ERA (30 runs in 38 innings) at the Coliseum in his career, including six appearances as a visiting pitcher and four outings (three starts) for the A’s last season, after he was traded by the Rangers at the Trade Deadline.
Meanwhile, the Royals’ offense was able to get on the board on a few lucky hops and hard-hit balls in the seventh against A’s starter Frankie Montas, who at one point sat down 13 in a row. But Andrew Benintendi singled to lead off the seventh, and after Jorge Soler’s sixth time reaching on a catcher’s interference this season, Hunter Dozier doubled on a 101 mph grounder past third base and Kelvin Gutierrez singled to give the Royals the lead.
Benintendi and Soler both went deep in the eighth — for an estimated distance of 401 and 425 feet, respectively — to tack on insurance runs.