Chris Bassitt looks to stay hot as A’s face Royals

MLB Baseball

Right-hander Chris Bassitt seeks to extend his unbeaten streak to 12 games on Sunday afternoon when the host Oakland Athletics vie for a series win against the Kansas City Royals.

After splitting a pair of games to begin the four-game set, the A’s put together one of their best all-around performances of the season in an 11-2 win on Saturday. That contest featured six shutout innings by rookie starter James Kaprielian and home runs from Matt Chapman, Skye Bolt and Matt Olson.

Oakland celebrated more than just its season-best 14 hits afterward, as the homer by Bolt was the first of his career. He has two hits in 20 career at-bats.

“After punching out a couple of times, that’s a tough thing to follow up,” A’s manager Bob Melvin admitted of the eighth-inning solo shot to center field. “It’s good that he’s got it out of the way. He’ll ooze a little bit more confidence now. You can settle in a little bit. That goes a long way in making you feel comfortable when you hit a ball like that.”

Bassitt (6-2, 3.44 ERA) has received 35 runs of support in his last five starts. Not that he’s needed it.

During his 11-game run in which he’s gone 6-0 with a 3.10 ERA, Bassitt has allowed two or fewer runs nine times and never more than four. He is coming off a 5-2 win over Arizona on Tuesday in which he allowed just two runs on four hits in seven innings.

The 32-year-old has never beaten the Royals in his career, going 0-1 with a 3.95 ERA in five starts.

Bassitt has yet to face Royals third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez, who has been the team’s hitting star through the first three games of the series.

The 26-year-old contributed a go-ahead, two-run single in a late uprising that led to Kansas City’s 6-1 win in the series opener on Thursday. He then accounted for all the Royals’ runs with a two-run homer on Saturday.

Gutierrez gone 5-for-12 in the series for the Royals, who have totaled just 24 hits in the three games.

The homer was the second of Gutierrez’s career and his first this season, giving the Royals at least a small reason to smile after the 11-2 defeat.

They hope to have more to cheer about Sunday, when left-hander Kris Bubic (1-1, 3.32) pitches in the San Francisco Bay Area for the first time since his standout career at Stanford.

A San Jose native, Bubic has never faced the A’s. He’s coming off his first loss in five starts this season, 8-1 Tuesday in Los Angeles against the Angels.

That game featured the longest home run of the major-league season, a Shohei Ohtani rocket off Bubic that Angels manager Joe Maddon called the longest ball he’d ever seen hit.

Bubic was impressed as well.

“He can hit the ball pretty hard, pretty far,” the 23-year-old said after also allowing a hard-hit double to the Japanese star. “The mistakes I made … there’s a reason he is who he is, and he hit them pretty far.”

–Field Level Media

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