Roark stumbles for 1st time in A's uniform

Right-hander yields 2 homers, 4 runs in loss to Royals

August 29th, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- Four runs have usually been enough for the A’s whenever has taken the mound. But Wednesday night produced an uncharacteristic outing for the right-hander.

Blake Treinen surrendered the late go-ahead run in a 6-4 loss at Kauffman Stadium, but that came after Roark failed to make a pair of two-run leads hold up. Still in control of the second American League Wild Card after the Rays also lost Wednesday, the A’s loss drops them to 1 1/2 games back of Cleveland for the Wild Card.

Since arriving to Oakland via trade on July 31, Roark had shined through his first four starts. His final line Thursday was not terrible -- he turned in six innings while allowing four runs on five hits -- but it was the first time Roark had allowed more than two earned runs over an outing in his time with the A’s.

“If you miss your spots, you get hit around,” Roark said. “There were three pitches that I missed my spots and they got hit hard.”

Two of those three pitches Roark was referring to were sliders left over the heart of the plate to Hunter Dozier in the third and Ryan O’Hearn in the fifth, both of which resulted in home runs.

At his best when he’s getting ahead of the count by pounding the zone with strikes, Roark fell behind often against the Royals. Only 53 of his 92 pitches went for strikes, by far the least he’s thrown in a start with the A’s and the least he’s thrown since April 18.

Roark also had not allowed more than one home run in an outing with the A’s, but he surrendered two on Thursday, including the game-tying two-run blast to Dozier that came on a 2-1 count.

“Not the greatest,” Roark said when asked about his ability to attack hitters. “The intent was there, but the execution was not what it had been the past couple of starts. You’re not going to have your best stuff every game, so you have to grind. That was a grinder.”

The A’s provided Roark some offensive support with Marcus Semien leading off the game by smashing his 24th home run of the year off Royals starter Jakob Junis as part of a two-run first. Mark Canha also broke a tie in the fifth with a two-run homer, his 23rd of the year, as he continues his tear through the month of August with a .323 batting average.

Canha’s home run, however, signaled the end of production for the A’s offense on the night. Of their eight hits on the night, only one came after the fifth.

“Just kind of felt like we couldn’t get the machine rolling after that first inning,” Canha said. “I don’t know why. Just couldn’t string some hits together here and there.”