Reddick powers A's to rout of Royals

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Josh Reddick's right wrist is healthy, and so is his swing.
Reddick homered and drove in four runs as the Oakland Athletics topped the Kansas City Royals 10-4 Sunday.
Reddick sprained his wrist in early April and sat out just three games before returning to action. He batted .162 with no homers over the next 22 games, then finally get on the disabled in early May and sitting out for three weeks.
"It was stupid of me to try to play through it," Reddick said. "Obviously it affected my swing. Fortunately we caught it early enough so it didn't affect the team, but it would have been better to go on the DL right away."
Reddick ripped a two-run double Sunday in the Oakland's five-run second inning, and he homered with John Jaso aboard in the third, hiking the Athletics' lead to 7-1.
"I'm getting more lucky," Reddick said. "I'm not such an unlucky hitter anymore. I'm finding more holes and hitting it over the fence where they can't catch it.
"It's not so much being more confident, just getting back to hitting it better. I'm hitting the ball harder."
The A's (52-37) won for the eighth time in 11 games and moved 15 games above .500, matching their season high. They own the second-best record in the American League, but they have only one All-Star selection, right-hander Bartolo Colon.
"It's nice to make the All-Star Game, but we're a big family, and we're focused on the Fall Classic, not the mid-Summer Classic," said Sunday's winning pitcher, A.J. Griffin.
The A's sent 10 men to the plate in the second and chased Royals starter Luis Mendoza, who retired only five of the 11 batters he faced, with five scoring. Over his past two starts, Mendoza (2-5) has allowed nine runs and 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
"A little bit of concern there," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The problem we're running into, I think personally and we'll have to look into a little deeper, is he threw all winter. He threw in the (World Baseball Classic). So in actuality this is like he's pitching in September. It's something we've got to look at."
The second inning also included an RBI double by Eric Sogard and run-producing singles by Coco Crisp and Jed Lowrie. The A's have scored five or more runs in an inning in 13 games this season.
Lowrie and Sogard also homered for the A's. It was Sogard's first homer since April 27.
"Reddick's swinging the bat really well lately, and now he's driving the ball, too," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "That's what we've been looking for. Obviously, Soggie's was big at the time. They're coming back, and anytime you can add some runs, then it's big."
Griffin (7-6) he was pulled after five innings and 105 pitches. He yielded two runs on solo homers to Alex Gordon and George Kottaras.
"I threw a lot of pitches in that third inning," Griffin said. "I think there were three straight 3-2 at-bats. I was just happy to stick around for five (innings).
"I still felt fine. I felt like I was getting sharper. I was feeling looser as I was getting going, but I was over 100 pitches. It was time to leave."
The Royals made it interesting in the sixth off struggling A's left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins, cutting the lead to 8-4 and loading the bases.
Blevins retired none of the three batters he faced and two scored, ballooning his ERA to 9.72 in his past 11 appearances.
Jesse Chavez replaced Blevins and restored order. Chavez, who pitched for the Royals in 2010 and '11, limited the Royals to three hits while throwing four scoreless innings to earn his first major league save.
"Jesse was huge right there," Melvin said. "They're one swing away from having (Eric) Hosmer up and tying the game, and he shut them down. He was pitching like it was 1-0."
Chavez had a 7.56 ERA in his previous 10 games, but he shut down the Royals.
"I wanted to go in and eat up innings and put up zeros," Chavez said. "When I came in, I wanted to leave the runners on base and not let them score and then go back out and put up zeros. I haven't had that kind of depth and sharpness for a while. I had it going today."
Sogard homered in the seventh with Chris Young on first to push Oakland's lead to six runs.
The Royals top the majors with 28 comeback victories, but they keep falling behind early.
"I guess you can't go from zero to 100 just like that," Kottaras said. "It's always nice when you score early. It's just a process, I guess. It's hard to really explain. Sometimes you score early, sometimes you score late."
NOTES: Royals C Salvador Perez, a first-time All-Star selection, did not play. Yost said Perez has a soft tissue bruise and a bone bruise from foul balls. "It's not anything he can't play with," Yost said, but he likes to give his catcher breaks every three or four days for it "to calm down." ... Griffin has allowed only one run in the first inning over 18 starts this season. ... Colon was selected to his third All-Star Game and his first since 2005. "To make the All-Star team at age 40 is pretty incredible," Melvin said. Colon, however, is scheduled to start next Sunday and would not be allowed to pitch in the All-Star Game. ... Royals INF Miguel Tejada batted in the No. 2 hole for the first time this season, and he had two hits and an RBI. He is the fifth Royal to bat second.

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