KANSAS CITY, Mo. – To win 51 games before the All-Star break, a team has to do many things well, and the A's failed on all counts Saturday in a 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
The lapses started with a first-inning fielding error by Oakland starter Jarrod Parker and were capped by Adam Rosales' error that set up the Royals' winning rally in the eighth.
In between, the A's pitchers walked too many, the hitters delivered too infrequently when the game could have been broken open, and the baserunning was erratic.
So believe manager Bob Melvin when he says, "It was a very poor game for us from the way it started to the way it ended.
"I wish it was just one thing we did wrong. It wasn't," Melvin said. "It was everything."
Parker, pitching for the first time in a week after dealing with a sore right hamstring, said he still felt the hamstring a little. But he also felt his two errors, just the second multiple-error game by an Oakland pitcher since 1998, left him a little hamstrung.
The second error was on a pickoff throw in the third inning with Oakland leading 2-0. It set up a run-scoring grounder. An inning later, Mike Moustakas' homer tied it.
Josh Donaldson gave Parker the lead back with a sixth-inning solo homer, but the game began to unwind for the A's in the seventh. Parker was removed after putting two men on with one out. Jerry Blevins walked the bases loaded before allowing a tying sacrifice fly to Eric Hosmer.
"We don't normally play baseball this way," Blevins said. "It was just a tough game for us. We should have won it."
The A's pitchers walked six, including two in the eighth by Ryan Cook after a two-out fielding error by Rosales. That set up Jarrod Dyson's run-scoring infield hit, and that was it for the A's, whose hitters struck out three times in the ninth.
Oakland could have come up with a big inning against Kansas City starter Ervin Santana after a walk and two singles with one out in the second had the veteran right-hander a little woozy. But Rosales' grounder to third base led to an out at the plate.
In the third, Donaldson's two-out popup conspired with the sun and a bevy of white clouds to confound the Royals' defense for a single. John Jaso scored easily from second base, but Yoenis Cespedes had to stop at third after taking his time getting there from first.
Cespedes' stroll might not have mattered, but Josh Reddick, who'd singled in a run in his first at-bat, couldn't get the run home from third this time.
"We play hard and we run hard. That's what we expect," Melvin said.
Notes – Donaldson had the 100th and 101st hits of his season. He is the 14th A's player to reach triple digits before the All-Star break and the first since Miguel Tejada in 2002.
Jed Lowrie didn't start after fouling a ball off his right calf Friday. Lowrie said the foul ball "caught me right on the muscle" and was painful, but not so much that he couldn't have played. He struck out as a pinch hitter in the ninth.