The Royals surely looked forward to capitalizing when the A’s arrived in town for four games.
By Thursday night, they couldn’t wait to wave goodbye after Oakland finished off a dominating sweep that likely KO’d the Royals’ postseason hopes.
Getting a combined nine RBI from Stephen Vogt and Marcus Semien and a mammoth three-run homer from rookie Ryon Healy, the A’s pounded the defending World Series champs, 14-5, completing their first ever four-game sweep of the Royals in Kansas City.
The A’s busted out for 16 runs in Monday’s series opener, and the confidence seemed to snowball for their entire lineup, as they racked up 43 runs total in the series, the most in Oakland history for a four-game series.
The Royals entered this series fighting for survival in the American League Wild Card race, and four games against the last-place A’s provided a chance to make up ground. But they had it taken to them by an Oakland team that got big contributions from a blend of veterans and rookies Thursday.
Daniel Mengden turned in the best start of his young career, allowing just three hits over seven scoreless innings and registering his second career victory. That helped drop the Royals to 5 1/2 games behind Toronto for the second Wild Card spot with 16 to play. Kansas City has four teams between itself and the Blue Jays, who play Thursday night against the Angels.
Vogt had a two-run homer and five RBI. Semien added a three-run homer as part of his four-RBI night, and rookie second baseman Joey Wendle went 4-for-6 with three runs scored from the leadoff spot.
The A’s rang up their first four-game sweep since July 3-6, 2014 against Toronto, and they hadn’t swept the Royals in a series of any length since July 2010.
Starting pitching report: Mengden (2-7) has improved in each of his three starts since coming back from the minors. He was excellent Thursday, holding the Royals in check as the A’s gave him a 1-0 lead in the second and a 6-0 lead by the third. The right-hander struck out six over his seven innings without a walk.
Bullpen report: The A’s were aiming for their second consecutive shutout before the Royals broke through for five runs in the ninth off rookie Dillon Overton, who was called up earlier in the day for his fourth stint with the big club.
At the plate: Healy unloaded a tape-measure blast off Edinson Volquez (10-11) in the third, a three-run shot that measured 480 feet and cleared the fountain beyond the left field wall at Kauffman Stadium. The rookie has been on a roll recently. He has 10 homers since being called up after the All-Star break and has gone deep in four of his last eight games. The A’s collected 16 hits as a team.
Healy went 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs, a night after his minor spat with Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer after Healy was nailed in the ribs by a fastball from Yordano Ventura.
In the field: Khris Davis misplayed a fly ball at the warning track in left field and Max Muncy also missed a catchable fly in left, though neither miscue made a difference in the grand scheme of things.
Up next: The A’s head to Texas for a three-game series against the Rangers. Friday — Kendall Graveman (10-10, 4.13) vs. lefty Cole Hamels (14-5, 3.24), 5:05 p.m. Saturday — Raul Alcantara (0-1, 7.27) vs. Yu Darvish (5-4, 3.28), 5:05 p.m. Sunday — Ross Detwiler (1-3, 5.31) vs. Colby Lewis (6-2, 3.31), 12:05 p.m.