OAKLAND, Calif. — Jared Koenig scored his first career win in the sixth inning to help the Oakland Athletics beat the Kansas City Royals 4-0 on Sunday to end an eight-game losing streak at home.
Koenig grew up about 75 miles south of Oakland and had several friends and family members in attendance. That included his dad Greg, who got to babysit his son on Father’s Day.
“I’m glad he could be here,” said Koenig. “I’m sure he was as nervous as one can be, too. It’s great to have this 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 almost 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, still has the worst record in baseball at 23-45.
The Royals pinned six runners in goal position and were ruled out for the ninth time this season.
Koenig (1-2) gave up two hits over 5 2/3 innings. The A’s left-hander went four and had to hang around in traffic for most of the afternoon lest he become 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 playing in Australia when he caught the attention of an ace scout last year and signed a minor-league contract.
“His stuff today was exactly what he was described as,” said manager Mark Kotsay. “He didn’t hit anyone but he went 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 smaller leagues is a huge reward for him.”
Kansas City loaded bases against Koenig with two outs in the sixth before Domingo Acevedo hit Michael A. Taylor to end the inning.
Acevedo retired four batters. Zach Jackson and Zam Moll dropped three each to finish it off.
“It’s a great feeling to know that I can be successful here,” said Koenig. “Today was great.”
Brown crushed a Brady Singer 1-2 slider onto the steps behind the left field fence. It was Brown’s team-leading ninth home run and first in Oakland since August 8, 2021.
Murphy’s drive in three runs from Jose Cuas in sixth came after Brown was a single 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 won a series since winning three straight games against the Cubs on August 20-22, 2021 at Wrigley Field.
The A’s were put off a run by replay in the third game after Tony Kemp hit Brown’s single from first base, which Taylor bobbed in midfield. Kemp slid into home plate and appeared to narrowly beat second baseman Whit Merrifield’s relay shot. After Royals manager Mike Matheny challenged, replays showed Royals catcher Salvador Perez tagging Kemp by his protruding right back pocket and the call was overturned.
Kemp was still muttering about the track at the Oakland clubhouse afterwards, calling it “the 2022 Oakland A-track of all time.”
Kotsay just shook his head.
“I saw that for the first time in my 24-year career that a player was tagged and it was on the bag,” Kotsay said. “Salvador even said he didn’t tag him. It’s quite hard to feel pocket. Just another crazy episode in baseball from 2022 A.
Royals: RHP Zack Greinke (right flexor load) threw 70 pitches over seven innings during his second start in rehab with Triple-A Omaha. Greinke had four strikeouts and allowed three runs and six hits. … LHP Jake Brentz, who has been out since April 29 with a left elbow flexor stretch, began a rehab assignment at Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Royals: LHP Kris Bubic (0-4, 8.36 ERA) meets the Angels in the opener of a three-game streak in Los Angeles. Bubic lost to the Angels in June when he was tagged for six runs in four innings.
Athletics: RHP James Kaprieelian (0-4, 6.31) plays the Mariners at the Coliseum on Tuesday. Kaprieelian has allowed 15 runs over his previous 15 1/3 innings.