Oakland Athletics beat Royals, spoil Zack Greinke’s return from injured list

Aug 23, 2023, 6:44 AM | Updated: 11:46 am

Zack Gelof #20 of the Oakland Athletics is congratulated by teammates after he scored against the K...

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 22: Zack Gelof #20 of the Oakland Athletics is congratulated by teammates after he scored against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning on August 22, 2023 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Shea Langeliers homered for the second consecutive day, and the Oakland Athletics spoiled the return of former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke with a 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.

Aledmys Díaz added three RBIs for the A’s, and Brent Rooker had two hits a day after hitting his second game-ending home run of the season.

The game between the two worst teams in baseball attracted a crowd of 4,021, with chants of “Sell the team” echoing throughout a mostly quiet Coliseum during much of the evening.

Langeliers drew a louder response from the crowd with his home run. The veteran catcher has quickly become a fan favorite in Oakland after being acquired from the Braves in March 2022 in exchange for slugger Matt Olson, who is tied with two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani for the majors lead with 43 home runs.

“We all know the power and the hit tool’s there,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “This isn’t easy at this level to come up here and have immediate success. We saw it with Sean Murphy in his first full season, and I think we’re seeing it with Shea as well. He’s really showing progress of working in the right direction.”

Greinke had been out for two weeks with a right elbow injury before being activated off the injured list prior to Tuesday’s game. A six-time All-Star who has 224 career wins and won the 2009 AL Cy Young Award, followed opener Angel Zerpa (1-2) and pitched out of the bullpen for the first time since doing so for the Houston Astros against the Chicago White Sox in Game 3 of the ALDS on Oct. 10, 2021.

The 39-year-old Greinke looked sharp while throwing 53 pitches and allowing two hits in four scoreless innings. He had five strikeouts and allowed one runner past first base.

“He looked like he was back to his normal form,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “Got a bunch of swing and misses, soft contact. It was a really positive outing for him. It’s great to have him back.”

The last-place A’s have won two straight against the Royals and four of five overall this season, one of the few teams Oakland has been able to handle this season.

Hogan Harris (3-6) got the win despite an erratic outing when he allowed four runs in 3 2/3 innings. Trevor May worked the ninth for his 13th save.

Langelier’s home run leading off the second off Zerpa traveled 412 feet. All but two of the slugger’s 14 home runs have gone at least 400 feet.

“This year when I have hit them it seems like I’ve connected pretty good,” Langeliers said. “But it kind of feels like they’re few and far between. If I keep building this momentum and keep it going, it’d be nice.”

Harris is partners with Langeliers in a fantasy football league and said he always tries to stop and watch when his friend is batting.

“I gotta watch my boy,” Harris said. “I can’t not watch him, or he’ll yell at me. Him and I, since the very first time we met each other, we just kind of clicked well.”

Díaz made it 5-2 with a two-run double just inside the third base line. The ball rolled into foul territory past the A’s bullpen then bounced off the wall back onto the field.

Salvador Perez had a two-run single off Harris in the fifth, pulling the Royals within 5-4.

Zerpa struggled with his control early and hit the first batter in the first then walked the second. After Carlos Perez flew out, Rooker lined an RBI single into left-center. Zack Gelof scored on a sacrifice fly by Díaz, easily beating the off-target throw by Royals right fielder Drew Waters.

The Royals tied it on Kyle Isbel’s two-out, bases-loaded single in the second off Harris, who pitched in relief of opener Dany Jiménez.

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