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Koenig gives dad perfect Father's Day gift as A's top Royals originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Jared Koenig gave his dad the perfect Father’s Day gift on Sunday afternoon.
With his father and countless friends and family members in attendance at the Oakland Coliseum, the left-hander earned his first career MLB win as the Athletics topped the Kansas City Royals 4-0.
It was Koenig’s third career start but first at home, just over an hour drive away from his hometown of Aptos, Calif.
Koenig didn’t record a single strikeout but held the Royals off the scoreboard over 5 2/3 innings, scattering two hits and four walks. He exited the game with the bases loaded in the sixth and two outs, only to exhale from the dugout when Domingo Acevedo stepped in relief and fanned Michael Taylor to end the threat.
Koenig, who topped out at 90.9 mph, threw 52 of his 89 pitches for strikes and only collected three swing-and-misses. However, the Royals averaged a mere 86.2 mph exit velocity off the 28-year-old as he allowed the A's defense to do the work. First baseman Seth Brown flashed the leather several times to keep Koenig on track for his first career win.
And again, all with Koenig's father in attendance.
"It’s special to do on Father’s Day," Koenig told reporters after the game. "It’s great. I’m happy he’s able to be here. I’m sure he was nervous as can be, too. He’s a nervous wreck when it comes to that. So, it’s awesome to have that support and to be able to do it today, of all days.
"If he can pace, he’s a little better," Koenig said of his father's nervous tendency while watching him pitch. "But if he’s stuck in his seat, I don’t think he’s as good."
Koenig was roughed up in his first two career starts. He was tagged for four runs over four innings in a 13-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves in his MLB debut June 8, and then served up six earned runs over four innings to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 14. Sunday's 5 2/3 scoreless innings lowered his ERA from 11.25 to 6.59.
Earning a tally in the win column is a significant achievement for Koenig, who didn't debut in the minor leagues until age 27. After wrapping up his collegiate career in 2016, Koenig bounced around several independent leagues and even pitched six games in the Australian Baseball League before signing with Oakland in 2020.
"For Koenig, coming off these last two performances and continue to focus and grind and go out today and have a good, quality start -- even though he was short, it was a good quality start," manager Mark Kotsay said. "It gave us a chance to win this game today.
"For him, his journey -- through Independent ball, through Australia, through the minor leagues -- it's a great reward for him and well deserved."