When Matt Olson puts the barrel of the bat on the ball, they results are no-doubters.
Olson hit a three-run homer in the eighth as the Oakland Athletics defeated the Kansas City Royals 5-1 on Sunday to win the series.
Olson went 5 for 11 with three home runs, eight RBIs and scored five times in the series. His shortest of the three homers was 428 feet on Friday.
The A’s are 9-2 in their past 11 road games. The Royals have lost 21 of 31 home games.
Olson drove a 3-0 pitch by Burch Smith 454 feet over the right-center field fence with Jed Lowrie and Chris Davis aboard. Lowrie’s single scored Dustin Fowler, who had three hits, with the first run of the inning to snap a 1-1 tie.
“I got the green light, and I think 3-0 you tend to get one of the best fastball counts nowadays,” Olson said. “So he threw one over the plate and I was ready for it.”
Olson upped his home run total to 12 and has four in his past four games.
“When he squares it up like that I don’t think it really matters,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of the size of the park and the wind.
Smith walked two of the five batters he faced and has issued 18 free passes in 25 2-3 innings.
“It’s hit and miss,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Smith’s command. “Today was definitely not good. He was behind on almost every hitter he faced.”
Royals starter Jakob Junis (5-5) was charged with three runs over 7 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and striking out a career-high nine.
“I threw some good fastballs, had my slider working and went with a good game plan,” Junis said.
The three KC hits equaled a season low.
“I just wish we could get Jake some runs, to give him something to protect,” Yost said.
Jon Jay snapped the longest active homerless drought in the majors for a non-pitcher with a third inning home run for the Kansas City run.
He went 500 plate appearances between home runs. His previous was on July 5 a pinch-hit homer for the Chicago Cubs against Tampa Bay right-hander Erasmo Ramirez at Wrigley Field.
Mark Canha doubled down the left-field line and scored on Jonathan Lucroy’s single in the third for the initial Oakland run.
Starter Daniel Gossett limited the Royals to two hits over five innings, with the Jay homer his only hiccup. Gossett, who is 4-14 in 23 career starts, threw only 63 pitches before leaving with right elbow tightness. He is returning Monday to Oakland for a MRI.
“A little discomfort, pretty precautionary,” Gossett said. “I just wanted to get out of there, didn’t want to overextend anything. I didn’t want it lead to anything (that) might be worse.”
He was replaced by rookie Lou Trivino (3-0), who pitched two hitless innings to pick up the victory. Trivino has a 0.82 ERA, allowing two runs and 15 hits over 22 innings, while striking out 23.