Right-hander Paul Blackburn pitched six strong innings in his 2018 major league debut, and Matt Chapman broke a sixth-inning tie with an RBI double Thursday night, lifting the Oakland Athletics to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Kansas City Royals in the opener of a four-game series.
In a rematch of teams that met in a three-game set in Kansas City last week, the A’s broke a 1-1 tie with a three-run sixth against Royals starter Jason Hammel (2-6).
A single by Khris Davis and walk to Matt Olson, who earlier had homered, got the rally rolling.
Chapman gave Oakland the lead for good with his run-scoring double, after which Marcus Semien and Stephen Piscotty added RBI singles to open a three-run margin.
Blackburn (1-0), who was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list before the game, was pulled at that point, having allowed one run and three hits. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.
The 24-year-old had been sidelined all season due to tightness in his right forearm. He hadn’t pitched in a major league game since last August.
Lou Trivino, Yusmeiro Petit and Blake Treinen followed Blackburn with a scoreless inning apiece, allowing just one more hit combined.
Treinen pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 14th save.
Alcides Escobar produced Kansas City’s only run with a leadoff homer, his third long ball of the season, against Blackburn in the third inning.
Olson countered that with a solo shot of his own, his 13th of the season, off Hammel in the fourth.
Piscotty finished with three hits, while Chapman and Semien added two apiece for the A’s, who won two of three from the Royals last week.
The A’s out-hit the Royals 9-4 while snapping a two-game losing streak.
Mike Moustakas doubled for the Royals, who lost their fifth straight, including four in a row to start a seven-game Western swing.
—Field Level Media