A’s starter Wealthy Hill turns in brief outing in 4-2 loss to Royals

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Source:   —  April 16, 2016, at 11:44 AM

Still, Volquez’s outing only underscored a dazzling disagreement in the A’s 4-2 loss to the Royals. By slogging through six innings with a one-run lead, Volquez allowed KS City manager Ned Yost to turn the game over to his late-inning bullpen trio of Kelvin Herrera, Joakim Soria and Wade Davis, who close the A’s offense down over the final three innings.

A’s starter Wealthy Hill turns in brief outing in 4-2 loss to Royals

OAKLAND -- A’s manager Bob Melvin said he was pleased with how his lineup made KS City Royals starter Edinson Volquez work on Friday night, seeing a total of one hundred three pitches from the right-hander over the course of six innings.

Still, Volquez’s outing only underscored a dazzling disagreement in the A’s four-two loss to the Royals. By slogging through six innings with a one-run lead, Volquez allowed KS City manager Ned Yost to turn the game over to his late-inning bullpen trio of Kelvin Herrera, Joakim Soria and Wade Davis, who close the A’s offense down over the final three innings.

Meanwhile, Oakland starter Wealthy Hill didn't create it out of the fifth inning, marking the second time in three outings that the A’s No. two starter has failed to complete five innings. Hill needed one hundred six pitches to record thirteen outs, and his early departure forced the A’s bullpen to cover the final 4 2/three innings as the team suffered its fourth consecutive loss.

"When we've to go to the bullpen in the fifth inning," Hill said, "I just didn’t do my job tonight."

Hill struggled with his command early, walking the first batter of the game and allowing consecutive singles to Omar Infante and Lorenzo Cain that gave the Royals their first run. He got Eric Hosmer to ground into a double play, which scored Infante, but issued another walk to Kendrys Morales before striking out Alex Gordon to finish the inning.

The inning encapsulated a frustrating night for Hill. He exhibited swing-and-miss stuff, recording six strikeouts and inducing eleven swing-throughs. But he ended the first inning at thirtieth pitches against a Royals lineup that seemed perfectly content getting deep into counts and driving up Hill’s pitch count.

Hill threw first-pitch strikes to just nine of the twenty-four hitters he faced and said his command of his fastball was spotty. He'd a better perceive for his big-breaking curveball, but Royals hitters also seemed to be geared up for the pitch. Hill finished three of his strikeouts with the curveball, but also allowed six of his nine hits on the pitch.

"They did a grand work of hitting the breaking ball tonight," Hill said. "It’s a good lineup.

"I just (necessity to) be a tiny more efficient with my fastball. I think that getting ahead early in counts is a must. That’s something we saw in (his latest start in) Seattle. And today just KS City did a excellent work of fighting off excellent pitches and putting excellent pitches in play."

After Hill’s exit, Melvin covered the rest of the game with four relievers, three of whom pitched in multiple innings. That included using left-handed specialist Marc Rzepczynski to record four outs for the second time already this season (he also pitched two innings in an April nine win in Seattle). Latest season, Rzepczynski appeared in seventy-second games without once recording more than three outs.

Ryan Dull replaced Rzepczynski to start the eighth inning and retired four straight hitters. But wanting to hold Dull available later in the series, Melvin opted to replace him with closer Sean Doolittle with one out in the ninth. And the first batter Doolittle faced, Eric Hosmer, lined a 1-1 fastball over the wall in middle field that extended the Royals’ lead.

"I don’t wish to utilize Sean Doolittle in that type of situation there," Melvin acknowledged later. "(But) we've to have some guys available in case we do obtain into the (bullpen in) the center innings again."

It was the third residence running Doolittle has allowed already this season in six outings and just the second he's allowed to a left-handed hitter since two thousand thirteen. All three residence runs have arrive in his four appearances at home -- prior to this season, Doolittle had allowed only five residence runs in one hundred-second outings at the Coliseum. Both Melvin and catcher Stephen Vogt, though, credited Hosmer with beating a good pitch.

"That was an unbelievable piece of hitting by Hosmer," Vogt said. "Doolittle made a grand pitch up and in, fastball, Hosmer doesn’t handle those. Number one hits that ball out to middle here at night, particularly on a pitch love that. You’ve got to tip your cap there."

"I don’t know how he hits it out to middle field," Melvin agreed. "Other than that, his (Doolittle’s) stuff was good."

The A’s offense had a few brief flashes. Vogt, who had eighteen residence runs latest year, hit his first of the season on a breaking ball from Volquez in the second inning. In the fourth, Vogt scored from second base on a one-out single by left fielder Khris Davis, who went into the game batting .167 with fourteen strikeouts in nine games.

It was too tiny to overcome an early deficit, though, as the A’s played the all game from behind. And afterward, Melvin said the extent to which he's used his bullpen early this season is "a bit of a concern."

"Overall," Melvin said, "we necessity to obtain a small bit deeper into games."

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