KANSAS CITY -- The A's couldn't get to Royals starter Jakob Junis the first three times through the lineup in the series rubber match on Sunday, but when he was left to face them a fourth time, the tides turned.Matt Olson delivered the knockout punch -- a three-run homer to
KANSAS CITY -- The A's couldn't get to Royals starter Jakob Junis the first three times through the lineup in the series rubber match on Sunday, but when he was left to face them a fourth time, the tides turned.
Matt Olson delivered the knockout punch -- a three-run homer to deep right-center -- to give Oakland the 5-1 win after Jed Lowrie chased the sharp Junis from the game two batters prior with an RBI single.
With Lowrie on second and Khris Davis on first following a walk, Olson clobbered a 3-0 fastball left down the middle by reliever Burch Smith into the Kauffman Stadium fountains. The blast -- his 12th of the season -- traveled an estimated 454 feet at a rapid exit velocity of 111.2 mph.
"Got the green light," Olson said. "I think 3-0 any chance you get, it's one of the best fastball counts nowadays. He threw one over the plate, and I was ready for it."
Olson homered three times in the series against Kansas City, all tape measure shots. In total, his three homers knocked in seven runs and flew 1,338 feet. Counting a 478-foot moonshot Thursday against the Rays, he's now homered four times in the last four games.
"He has the ability to do it," A's skipper Bob Melvin said. "You look at his numbers right now, he's on a pretty good pace even though he might've got off to a little bit of a slower start than maybe he would've imagined."
Starter Daniel Gossett threw five innings of two-hit, one-run ball for the A's before leaving the game with right elbow tightness. He called the exit precautionary, and that the A's didn't want to leave him in and "lead to anything that might be worse."
"After the fifth, he came and talked to me a little bit and wanted to go out there and warm up," Melvin said. "We thought better to go down in the cage and see how it feels there. Just didn't want to chance it."
An MRI is scheduled for Monday's off-day.
Right-hander Lou Trivino came in to relieve Gossett, and tossed two hitless innings into the eighth. Lowrie's go-ahead single came in the top of the frame, lining Trivino up for the win after his stellar showing against the meat of the Royals' lineup.
"With offensively how we were doing and really wanting to try and take this series and him being able to pitch two innings, he did really well for us," Melvin said. "He had to go through the top of the lineup and then through their big boys too in the middle, and did a nice job with it."
Matt Joyce was absent from the lineup after leaving Saturday's game with lower back tightness. The starting left fielder, who has seven homers on the season, is still being evaluated day to day.
"I'm glad we get the off-day tomorrow," Melvin said before the game. "We do have the left-hander the first day in Texas, so hopefully we gain a little ground in the next few days, but I wouldn't say [Joyce] was great today."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Dustin Fowler led off the eighth with a broken-bat single off Junis. After Marcus Semien lined out to center, Fowler took off for second and narrowly slid in safe.
Lowrie worked a 3-0 count from Junis, and lined a single up the middle. Jonathan Jay's throw arrived at the plate just moments too late, as Fowler scored and broke the 1-1 tie.
"It was big, get somebody in scoring position," Melvin said. "We love Jed up there in scoring position type situations. It's a whole different scenario if he's not on second."
The A's have an off-day Monday before opening a two-game series against the Rangers, in which Sean Manaea (5-6, 3.60 ERA) will get the start. Manaea saw his record dip under .500 in his last start against the Rays, in which he allowed five runs in five innings. Matt Moore (1-2, 6.82 ERA) will start for Texas.
Jordan Wolf is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.