OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Jared Koenig pitched into the sixth inning for his first career win and combined with three relievers on a three-hitter, helping the Oakland Athletics beat the Kansas City Royals 4-0 on Sunday to end an eight-game home losing streak.
Koenig grew up about 75 miles south of Oakland and had several friends and family in attendance. That included his dad Greg, who got to watch his son on Father’s Day.
“I’m happy he was able to be here,” Koenig said. “I’m sure he was nervous as can be, too. It’s awesome to have that support and to be able to do it today of all days.”
Seth Brown had three hits, including his first home run at the Oakland Coliseum in nearly a year. Sean Murphy also connected to help the A’s avoid a three-game sweep.
Oakland, which won for the third time in 18 games overall, still owns the worst record in baseball at 23-45.
The Royals stranded six runners in scoring position and were shut out for the ninth time this season.
Koenig (1-2) gave up two hits over 5 2/3 innings. The A’s left-hander walked four and had to pitched around traffic much of the afternoon to avoid becoming the fourth pitcher in Oakland history to lose his first three starts.
Not bad for a pitcher who spent 2017-19 in independent leagues. The 28-year-old was pitching in Australia when he caught the attention of an A’s scout last year and was signed to a minor league deal.
“His stuff today was exactly who he’s been described as,” manager Mark Kotsay said. “He didn’t strike anyone out but he got through 5 2/3 with a lot of contact and a good defense behind him. For him, his journey through independent ball, through Australia, through the minor leagues, it’s a great reward for him.”
Kansas City loaded the bases against Koenig with two outs in the sixth before Domingo Acevedo struck out Michael A. Taylor to end the inning.
Acevedo retired four batters. Zach Jackson and Zam Moll set down three each to close it out.
“It’s a great feeling to know that I’m able to be successful out here,” Koenig said. “Today was awesome.”
Brown crushed a 1-2 slider from Brady Singer onto the steps beyond the left field fence. It was Brown’s team-leading ninth home run and first in Oakland since Aug. 8, 2021.
Murphy’s three-run drive off Jose Cuas in the sixth came after Brown singled and Ramón Laureano was hit by a pitch from Singer.
Singer (3-2) allowed six hits and three runs with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.
The Royals have not swept a series since winning three consecutive games against the Cubs at Wrigley Field from Aug. 20-22, 2021.
The A’s had a run taken away by replay in the third after Tony Kemp scored from first base on Brown’s single that Taylor bobbled in center field. Kemp slid into home plate and appeared to narrowly beat the relay throw from second baseman Whit Merrifield. After Royals manager Mike Matheny challenged, replays showed Royals catcher Salvador Perez tagging Kemp on his right back pocket that was hanging out, and the call was overturned.
Kemp was still muttering about the play in Oakland’s clubhouse afterward and called it “the most 2022 Oakland A’s play ever.”
Kotsay just shook his head.
“First time I’ve seen that in my 24-year career, a player being tagged out and it being on the pocket,” Kotsay said. “Salvador even was saying he didn’t tag him. It’s pretty hard to feel pocket. Just another crazy episode in 2022 A’s baseball.”
Royals: RHP Zack Greinke (right flexor strain) threw 70 pitches over seven innings during his second rehab start with Triple-A Omaha. Greinke had four strikeouts and allowed three runs and six hits. ... LHP Jake Brentz, out since April 29 because of a left elbow flexor strain, began a rehab assignment with Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Royals: LHP Kris Bubic (0-4, 8.36 ERA) faces the Angels in the opener of a three-game series in Los Angeles. Bubic lost to the Angels in June when he was tagged for six runs in four innings.
Athletics: RHP James Kaprielian (0-4, 6.31) pitches against the Mariners at the Coliseum on Tuesday. Kaprielian has allowed 15 runs over his previous 15 1/3 innings.