OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Brad Keller allowed one hit in seven crisp innings to lift Kansas City to a 2-0 win over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday.
Jose Cuas retired two batters and allowed a one-out double in the eighth. Scott Barlow set down the final four batters for his eighth save to complete the two-hitter and give the Royals a third consecutive win.
“He was so good all day,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said of Keller. “He hit the middle of the plate maybe 10 times out of almost 100 pitches so he was trusting the movement. He had movement going both ways, kept the ball on the ground and let guys make plays behind him.”
Keller (2-8) was dominant in his first win since May 3. The 22-year-old retired 17 of the first 18 batters he faced and worked around three walks for his first road victory in five starts this season.
Oakland’s only hit off Keller came on Jonah Bride’s two-out double in the sixth just past the outstretched glove of left fielder Andrew Benintendi. After walking Tony Kemp and Seth Brown to load the bases, Keller received a mound visit from pitching coach Cal Eldred then got Ramón Laureano to fly out.
“He came out there and told me to calm down, gave me a little bit of a breather and told me speed up my delivery a little bit,” Keller said. “I started to slow down and I think that’s why the ball sprayed on me a little bit to those two guys that I walked. ”
Pinch-hitter Ryan O’Hearn doubled in in Michael A. Taylor in the seventh to break a scoreless tie and assure Kansas City of its first series win since taking two of three from Colorado in mid-May. Whit Merrifield added an RBI single in the ninth.
The A’s were shut out for the eighth time this season, dropped their eighth straight at home, and fell to a majors-worst 22-45. Oakland has lost 15 of 17.