Left-hander Mike Minor reminded the Oakland Athletics why they traded for him for the stretch run last season, limiting his former team to one run in seven innings Thursday while pitching the visiting Kansas City Royals to a 6-1 victory in the opener of a four-game series.
Kelvin Gutierrez broke a 1-1 tie with a two-RBI single in a three-run seventh for the Royals, who snapped a five-game losing streak.
Minor (5-3) joined the A’s last August in a trade from the Texas Rangers and pitched eight times for Oakland, including three times in relief in the postseason. On Thursday, he served up a solo home run to Jed Lowrie in the fourth but gave up no other runs in his seven-inning stint.
The 10-year veteran allowed only two other hits — singles by Matt Olson in the second and Stephen Piscotty in the fifth — to win for the second time in his last three starts. He walked one and struck out eight.
Minor found himself trailing 1-0 until the game-changing seventh, when the Royals caught a break on a catcher’s interference on Sean Murphy to ignite a rally against Oakland starter Frankie Montas (6-6).
Andrew Benintendi, who had led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on Murphy’s miscue, came around to score the tying run on a double by Hunter Dozier.
Gutierrez then blooped his two-run hit into center field, giving Kansas City the lead for good.
Montas was pulled at that point, charged with three runs (two earned) on five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out eight without issuing a walk.
Benintendi added a solo home run (his seventh homer of the season), and Jorge Soler chipped in with a two-run shot (his sixth homer) in a three-run eighth that put the game on ice.
The last three runs came off A’s reliever Jesus Luzardo.
Gutierrez and Benintendi finished with two hits apiece, while Soler and Benintendi scored twice each for the Royals, who out-hit the A’s 10-3.
Lowrie’s homer, his fifth of the season, was Oakland’s only extra-base hit in just its second loss in eight games in June.