OAKLAND - It was a night to remember for Cam Gallagher on Monday, with Jharel Cotton unwillingly contributing to the memories.
Gallagher, called up by the Royals a week ago after seven years spent in the minors, worked the count to full in the top of the sixth before unloading on a two-out grand slam off Cotton that told the story in Kansas City's 6-2 victory over the A's.
How fortunes can change on one pitch. Cotton (5-10) was piecing together a rather encouraging outing, settling in after allowing single runs in each of the first two innings. The rookie was trying to slam the door on the Royals in the sixth with two outs and the bases loaded.
Then Gallagher, the No. 9 hitter who came in just 1-for-7 in the three games he's played, connected with a fastball on the inner half of the plate and gave himself the memory of a lifetime.
A's starters are authoring too many such moments for opponents lately. Kendall Graveman delivered a strong effort Sunday to beat Baltimore, but Oakland's rotation has combined for a 7.46 ERA over the past 17 games.
Gallagher's blast turned a 2-1 A's deficit into 6-1, and that was too much ground to make up with the way Oakland swung the bat in the opener of this three-game series. A day after homering three times and scoring nine runs, the A's mustered just five hits in front of a paltry crowd of 9,848, their second smallest of the season.
Here's five things you need to know as the A's fell to 2-5 on this nine-game homestand:
A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY: The A's had a chance to jump right back into the game after Gallagher's slam. They had Royals righty Jakob Junis on the ropes after he hit two batters in a row, the second one forcing in a run to cut it to 6-2. But with the bases still loaded and one out, Matt Olson fouled out and Chad Pinder struck out on a check swing.
STILL SEARCHING FOR HIS FORM: Cotton got through six innings but wound up charged with six runs thanks to the grand slam. He walked three, including one in that pivotal sixth-inning rally for the visitors. Cotton's ERA rose from 5.72 to 5.92.
DOING HIS PART: Marcus Semien tripled in the first and scored on Ryon Healy's groundout. He added an infield single in his next at-bat and finished 2-for-4.
FACTOID OF THE NIGHT: In Jason Hammel and Brandon Moss, the Royals have more members of the 2014 A's squad on their roster than the A's do. Oakland's lone player from that Wild Card team is second baseman Jed Lowrie, and even he spent time with the Houston Astros before the A's re-acquired him before the 2016 season.
WAHL SURGERY: Reliever Bobby Wahl underwent thoracic outlet surgery on his right shoulder Monday in Dallas, as expected. Dr. Greg Pearl performed the procedure, and Wahl will return to Oakland on Thursday to begin rehab. An approximate timetable for a pitcher's recovery from such a procedure is four to six months.