KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Khris Davis hit a two-run homer, Jharel Cotton shut down Kansas City’s anemic offense and the Oakland Athletics held on to spoil the Royals’ home opener with a 2-0 victory Monday.
Cotton (1-1) gave up a single in the first and another in the sixth, but otherwise befuddled a Royals lineup that hasn’t shown much punch. He walked three and struck out six over seven innings.
Santiago Casilla struck out the side in the eighth before Sean Doolittle ran into trouble in the ninth, putting runners on the corners with two outs. He bounced back to strike out Brandon Moss for his first save, helping the A’s beat the Royals for the seventh consecutive time.
Davis provided all the offense Oakland needed when he followed a leadoff single by Ryon Healy with his fourth homer of the year. The shot to right on a 3-0 pitch from Ian Kennedy (0-2) barely scraped the wall, but it gave Cotton the only help he needed on a sun-splashed afternoon.
Kansas City has scored one run or fewer in three of its five losses this season.
The home opener had a somber feeling even before the Royals’ bats went quiet, starting with a tear-filled tribute to Yordano Ventura. The young pitcher, an instrumental part of their back-to-back World Series appearances, was killed in an offseason car crash in the Dominican Republic.
Kennedy pitched well on the mound where Ventura once dazzled, allowing only two hits and two walks over six innings. But the mistake he threw to Davis proved to be decisive.
Cotton, who was battered by the Angels in his season debut, effortlessly sliced through the Kansas City order. He got a double play to end the second, struck out the side in the fifth, then induced a pair of fly outs in the sixth after an error on a double-play ball gave the Royals life.
Cotton proceeded to breeze through the seventh before handing the game to his bullpen.
The Royals left Ventura’s locker empty except for a framed jersey, and memorials to him were just about everywhere inside Kauffman Stadium. His mother, Marisol Hernandez, threw out the ceremonial first pitch after a saxophonist standing on the mound played a rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
Oakland RHP Sonny Gray (right lat injury) threw a bullpen session Monday and will throw to hitters Thursday, manager Bob Melvin said. Gray hopes to be ready by the end of the month. … RHP Chris Bassitt (elbow surgery) reported no problems after throwing to hitters on Sunday at Class A Stockton, but Melvin said he’s not sure what the next step will be in Bassitt’s rehab.
Oakland: RHP Andrew Triggs tries to build on a strong season debut when the series resumes after a day off. Triggs allowed one run on four hits in 5 2/3 innings in a 5-1 win over the Angeles.
Kansas City: RHP Jason Hammel allowed three runs on six hits in five innings against Minnesota in his first start for the Royals last week. He gets the start at the K on Wednesday night.