Andrew Triggs comes up big against Royals in 8-3 win
KANSAS CITY – For a pitcher who came to spring training needing to fight his way onto the roster and into the rotation, Andrew Triggs is looking increasingly comfortable.
The 28-year-old right-hander shut out the Royals for six innings Wednesday in pitching the A’s to an easy 8-3 win over Kansas City, the team that drafted him back in 2012.
Oakland, now 5-4, scored eight runs on behalf of Triggs between the third and sixth innings in locking down the A’s first series win of the season. The A’s can earn a series sweep with a win Thursday, but they are guaranteed of winning at least two of the three now that they’ve stretched their winning streak against Kansas City to eight games over the last 12 months.
The A’s didn’t allow the Royals their first run of the seriesuntil the eighth inning when reliever Liam Hendriks gave up both runs, cutting into what had been an 8-0 A’s lead. Frankie Montas gave up a final run in the ninth on a Raul Mondesi homer.
Triggs, acquired by the A’s on waivers in March of 2016 from the Orioles, might not have made the rotation out of spring training based on his numbers, including a 1-3 record, an 8.10 ERA and a .299 opponents’ batting average. But injuries pushed some of his competition to the side, and now he’s flexing his muscles when it counts.
Using his normal sidearm delivery to dish out sinkers and sliders, Triggs allowed one unearned run against the Angels in his first start, then improved to 2-0 Wednesday, stranding runners in scoring position in three of the first four innings. In 11.2 innings this year, he’s allowed eight hits and one unearned run.
Third baseman Trevor Plouffe, moved down in the Oakland batting order in this series after a .156 start to the season, had his single most productive game yet with the A’s with a hit, a walk, two runs scored and a sacrifice fly.
Plouffe singled to open the third and scored on Rajai Davis’ double. An inning later, singles by Khris Davis, Stephen Vogt and Yonder Alonso added a run and Plouffe’s sacrifice fly pushed Triggs out to a 3-0 lead.
Oakland added another run in the fifth when Marcus Semien walked stole second, took third on a wild pitch by former A’s starter Jason Hammel, then scored on a Jed Lowrie sacrifice fly.
A four-run sixth included an RBI hit from Rajai Davis, a bases-loaded single from Matt Joyce and a two-run bases-loaded double from Jed Lowrie.
- Jharel Cotton grew up with Pedro Martinez as an idol. When it turned out that Martinez was a fan of his – he raved able Cotton both on MLB Network and in tweets Monday into Tuesday – Cotton was thrilled. Then he saw Martinez, who like Cotton claimed 45 as a uniform number and is 5-11 with a nasty changeup – followed him on Twitter. “He followed me, so I followed him right back,” Cotton said. “That’s cool.”
- Sonny Gray will face hitters in two “innings” of about 15 pitches each midafternoon Thursday. If that goes well, he could be cleared to begin a series of injury rehabilitation assignments. He’s hoping to be back with the A’s by the end of the month.
- John Axford, the reliever who went on the disabled list just a couple of days into the season, still doesn’t have a date when he can begin throwing again. He’ll need to do some strengthening exercises, too.
- Pitcher Chris Bassitt, on his way back from last year’s Tommy John surgery, will throw to hitters in the near future.
- Jed Lowrie moved into the No. 3 spot in the batting order Wednesday with Ryon Healy, mired in a .156 start to the season, dropping to sixth. The move worked, Lowrie getting his first three-RBI game since Sept. 13, 2015 when he was with the Astros.
- Manager Bob Melvin said he expected to see Healy back batting third. “It’s more about giving Healy a little bit of a break,” Melvin said. “He’ll be back, there’s no doubt. It happens multiple times over the course of a season. Just take a little pressure off him in the three spot. But he worked his way into the three spot and for good reason, and he’ll be back.”
- Triple-A third baseman Matt Chapman, on the disabled list with Nashville, had an MRI on his ailing left wrist. The MRI showed no structural damage, the club said. The report said his throwing and range of motion was improving and he should be cleared to resume swinging a bat before too much longer.
- Khris Davis had two hits and heads into Thursday having reached base safely in all eight games this season and in a career-best 18 consecutive games dating back to last Sept. 23. His previous career long was 15 games.
- Lowrie came into Wednesday with 64 consecutive errorless games at second base. That’s the fourth-longest streak by a second baseman in Oakland history.
- For the history buffs, Wednesday was the 108th anniversary of the old Philadelphia A’s first game in the then-new Shibe Park.
- The A’s entered Wednesday with a plus-3 home run differential, one of just seven AL teams who have hit more homers, 10, than they’ve allowed, 7. The only teams with a higher differential are Houston at plus-7 and Detroit at plus-6.