Scott Kazmir allowed just one hit in four scoreless innings in his second Cactus League start, but reliever Sean Doolittle didn’t fare so well, surrendering two homers in the sixth inning as the Kansas City Royals rallied for a 3-1 win at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Wednesday.
Kazmir left with the score still tied, with Yordano Ventura matching Kazmir zero for zero until the fifth.
Derek Norris, back in the lineup for Oakland after missing about a week with back spasms, grounded a one-out single to left, chasing Ventura. After Eric Sogard struck out against new pitcher Donnie Joseph, Norris stole second and Michael Taylor worked a walk. Joseph plunked Nate Freiman to load the bases and Billy Burns worked a bases-loaded walk to give the A’s (6-6) a 1-0 lead.
It was short-lived.
Doolittle (1-1) came on to work in the top of the sixth and gave up a double to Billy Butler with one out and then was lit up for back-to-back, two-out homers by Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas as Kansas City (7-6) surged ahead 3-1.
The A’s did get a runner in scoring position in the seventh when Taylor lined a double to center, but he was stranded at second. Jake Elmore led off the bottom of the eighth with a double, but was unable to advance.
Oakland then made it very interesting against Royals reliever Michael Mariot in the ninth.
Danial Robertson lined a one-out single up the middle and after a force out, Mariot had trouble getting the last out.
Freiman singled and Burns walked to load the bases, but Elmore popped a ball straight up the chute that catcher Francisco Pena reeled in to end the game.
Kazmier allowed a hit and a walk with three strikeouts. Fernando Nieve gave up two hits and a walk while fanning one in a scoreless fifth.
The A’s managed just six hits.
Oakland will be back at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Thursday, hosting the Colorado Rockies in their first night game of the spring at 7:05 p.m. Pacific.