OAKLAND -- Thrust into a spot start without the promise of another one, A's right-hander Chris Bassitt made the most of his time on the mound Saturday afternoon.Recalled from Triple-A Nashville to make his first Major League appearance in more than two years, Bassitt gave the A's seven solid innings
OAKLAND -- Thrust into a spot start without the promise of another one, A's right-hander Chris Bassitt made the most of his time on the mound Saturday afternoon.
Recalled from Triple-A Nashville to make his first Major League appearance in more than two years, Bassitt gave the A's seven solid innings in place of an injured Trevor Cahill, holding the Royals to a lone run in a tough-luck 2-0 loss at the Coliseum.
The A's mustered only three hits and struck out 10 times in seven innings against Royals left-hander Danny Duffy, who entered the contest with a 5.81 ERA.
"First time pitching in the big leagues in quite some time and to start and give us seven innings, you can't ask for much more than that," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We just didn't do enough offensively to support him."
Not since April 28, 2016, had Bassitt last appeared in the Majors. Tommy John surgery and a grueling rehab sidelined him for a lengthy period, and Bassitt has since been on the path of rediscovery in the Minors.
Twice this season, the A's had promoted Bassitt, only for him to sit idle in the bullpen before returning to Nashville -- a series of events that stirred his emotions. He admittedly didn't handle it well, contributing to his 6.10 ERA in Triple-A.
"This year has been a little hectic and crazy, so mentally, I've been battling a little bit there," Bassitt said. "I've had a lot of outings I wish I had back, because I just felt like I had a negative mindset going into the game and it would obviously escalate once I got into the game."
But with Cahill slowed by a minor Achilles issue, the A's were forced to dip into their depleted depth yet again. Bassitt was their seventh starter in seven games and 11th on the season, tying the Dodgers for second most behind the unorthodox Rays, who routinely use bullpen days.
"Tons of emotions, obviously," Bassitt said. "First couple innings, I was really sped up. Walking out there, nothing really compares to a big league stadium.
"Adrenaline is crazy, so you just let that wear off a little bit. Usually it takes a couple pitches and then you're good, but I had a little bit more than normal today."
Bassitt yielded three hits but none after the second, completing more innings than he had thrown in any game with Nashville this year. He walked one and struck out six -- including five of his final nine batters -- with help from a familiar face behind the plate. Battery mate Josh Phegley came up with him in the White Sox system, both of them sent to the A's with shortstop Marcus Semien in the 2014 Jeff Samardzija deal.
"I prepared a ton physically, mentally, everything, to get back to this level and compete and give us a chance to win," Bassitt said. "It's been a long time coming, but coming into this year was the first time I felt physically ready to be here again.
"There were some dark days. Even this year, there were some dark days, so having them behind my back and kind of pushing me through that really helps."
Right-hander Yusmeiro Petit offered up a solo homer to Alex Gordon in the ninth, providing the Royals some breathing room.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The A's were in position to strike in the seventh. With one out, Matt Chapman singled and Stephen Piscotty drew a walk to put a pair of runners on base for Chad Pinder. But Duffy buckled down and struck out Pinder and Phegley, squashing the threat.
The A's were shut out for the sixth time in 2018, which matches their season total from last year.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Royals challenged two calls on the same play in the fourth inning. With two outs and Alcides Escobar at second, Paulo Orlando hit a ground ball to Semien at shortstop -- who threw wide of first baseman Matt Olson -- and was originally called out on a swipe tag. Olson, unsure if he got him, threw home on a heads-up play, and Escobar was tagged out by Phegley. Replay officials overturned the call at first base but confirmed the call at home for the final out of the inning.
"He's a real clear-thinking guy, and we've known that from day one," Melvin said of Olson. "He wasn't sure if he got him or not, so he got rid of it in a hurry, and you have to get rid of it in a hurry. He's a really good defender, and I think the fact that he's so smooth sometimes you don't notice how good a defender he is, but it was a really smart play."
Lefty Sean Manaea will toe the rubber in Sunday's 1:05 p.m. PT series finale against the Royals at the Coliseum. Manaea is 1-4 with a 6.63 ERA over his last seven starts, after going 4-2 with a 1.03 ERA in his first six outings. He will be opposed by Kansas City right-hander Brad Keller (1-2, 2.12 ERA).
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.