Derek Norris, Michael Taylor Homer As Oakland Athletics Tie (Again) Royals


Derek Norris slugged a three-run homer Friday at Surprise Stadium and Michael Taylor belted a solo shot, but the A’s gave up a run in the bottom of the ninth and had to settle for a 9-9 tie with the Kansas City Royals.

Every A’s pitcher gave up at least a run Friday and lefty Sean Doolittle was hit particularly hard, giving up three runs in just two-thirds of an inning.

Oakland’s defense was also sloppy, with two errors contributing to three unearned runs.

Starter Dan Straily was solid, working through three hits and two walks in four innings to allow just one run, a solo homer by Alex Gordon in the second inning.

After Kansas City tied the game 8-8 with three runs against Doolittle in the eighth, the A’s took a 9-8 lead in the ninth. Luke Montz led off with a walk off new Royals pitcher Noel Arguelles and Jose Martinez singled to send pinch-runner Alden Carrithers to second. Jake Goebbert sacrificed both runners into scoring position but Nate Freiman was called out on strikes.

Jake Elmore walked to load the bases and Daniel Robertson reached on an infield single to score Carrithers and give Oakland the lead.

But Matt Buschmann, who came on to get the last out in the eighth, surrendered a two-out, game-tying homer to Francisco Pena and the game was called after nine innings.

The A’s scored in the first on a bases-loaded walk to Taylor after Billy Burns led off with a single, Norris lined a one-out single and John Jaso was hit by a pitch from Royals starter Danny Duffy.

Oakland erupted for four in the top of the second. Freiman led off with a single up the middle and moved up to second on Elmore’s groundout. After Daniel Robertson struck out, the A’s got busy with two outs. Burns singled to center to score Freiman and Eric Sogard worked a walk. Burns and Sogard pulled off a double steal which was rendered moot when Norris clubbed a line drive over the wall in left-center for his second homer of the spring.

Gordon made it 5-1 with his homer in the second before Oakland kept the heat on relief pitcher Michael Mariot. Sam Fuld led off the third with a triple to right and scored on Freiman’s sacrifice fly. Taylor’s homer in the fourth—his third of the spring—made it 7-1 A’s.

But Oakland let Kansas City back into the game with some defensive deficiencies in the sixth. With the bases loaded and no one out, Danny Valencia singled to left. But the ball got away from Burns, allowing three runs to score while Valencia advanced to third. Dan Otero pulled a nice escape act, though, getting three straight outs to leave the runner stranded.

After walks to Taylor and Fuld in the seventh, Elmore lashed an RBI single to right, but the Royals got the run back in the bottom of the seventh on a single, a failed force attempt by Robertson at shortstop and a sacrifice fly by Justin Maxwell.

Christian Colon, Ramon Hernandez and Maxwell all had RBI singles in the eighth for the Royals.

Otero was charged with three runs, one earned, on four hits in two innings. Joe Savery allowed an unearned run on two hits with two strikeouts in his inning of work and Buschmann allowed one run on three hits in 1.1 innings of work, fanning three.

Burns had three hits and stole his eighth base of the spring for the A’s, while Norris and Elmore had two hits each, part of Oakland’s 12-hit attack.

Oakland will be splitting the squad on Saturday, with a team staying at Phoenix Municipal Stadium to host the Texas Rangers at 1:05 p.m. Pacific and a split squad going to Scottsdale Stadium to play a San Francisco Giants split squad at 3:05 p.m. Pacific.