OAKLAND – Matt Davidson camped under a Michael Taylor pop-up just a few feet from third base. As the ball came down and drifted slightly toward the middle of the field, Davidson stood frozen as he looked at shortstop Elvis Andrus.
The ball then landed squarely between the two A’s infielders, allowing Salvador Perez to score an unearned run from second base and drawing audible groans from the announced Coliseum crowd of 8,772.
The fifth inning sequence typified the A’s frustrations Friday night. Not only did they allow two unearned runs, they also left nine runners on base in what turned into a 5-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
A’s starting pitcher Frankie Montas allowed 10 hits, including a 422-foot home run to Perez in the third inning, as he lost for the sixth time in his last 11 starts.
But Montas (3-7) probably deserved a better fate, considering the number of runners the A’s (22-44) stranded and the fielding mistakes they made in the opener of a six-game homestand.
Davidson also committed an error earlier in the fifth inning, allowing a Perez ground ball to get by and bounce into left field.
The A’s have now made errors in eight straight games, and have an American League-worst 46 in 66 games this season. Oakland entered Friday with 45 errors, tied for the most in the American League with the Texas Rangers, and a .980 fielding percentage that ranked 28th out of 30 MLB teams.
Even though the A’s have accrued a staggering amount of errors this season, they had, before Friday, allowed only 22 unearned runs, the fifth fewest in the AL. Oakland also ranked second in double plays with 59 prior to Friday’s game,
Davidson was replaced at third base in the top of the seventh inning by Jonah Bride.
Montas allowed five earned runs in six innings to Cleveland last Saturday, picking up plenty of run support in what became a 10-5 rout of the Guardians. It was a rare sight. Prior to Friday, Montas had received just 27 runs of support in 13 starts this year, including one run of support or fewer in nine starts.
Against the Royals, the A’s scored a run in the second inning but missed an opportunity to tack on more.
Andrus scored as he raced home from third base after a wild pitch from Royals starter Daniel Lynch, and the A’s later loaded the bases after a two-out single to right from Chad Pinder. But Ramón Laureano followed that with a ground out to short to end the threat.
The series continues with 1 p.m. games on Saturday and Sunday. Left-handers Cole Irvin will start Saturday and Jared Koenig will go Sunday.
NOTE: Home plate umpire Ron Kulpa has to exit the game after the top of the second inning for yet unexplained reasons. He was replaced by Charlie Ramos, who moved from first base to behind the plate.