Kemp’s heroics with bat, glove fuel A’s win over Royals originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Saturday was the Tony Kemp show at Kauffman Stadium.
The Athletics’ veteran utility player got it done at the plate and with his glove in the 9-7 win over the Kansas City Royals.
A 3-for-5 day at the plate that featured a big two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning was preceded by an incredible acrobatic catch in the bottom of the first inning that provided the first spark for a struggling A’s club.
Manager Mark Kotsay loved what he saw from Kemp’s all-around game on Saturday.
“Yeah, TK, the spark plug to the offense got us going early,” Kotsay told reporters after the game. “The play he made in left field, saving a run there, the home run. Great game for Tony today and really contributed to this team’s win today.”
A’s starting pitcher Jared Koenig (ND, 4 2/3 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) appreciated the effort from Kemp on the catch, which helped him escape a two-out jam with two runners on base and Oakland leading 2-0.
“Oh, yeah, to end the first inning like that, that’s huge, especially after a rough half-inning prior,” Koenig said postgame. “Just to be able to end that inning and have a nice catch, it kind of gave us that little extra pick-me-up.”
Kemp admitted after the game that he got a bad jump and the actual catch was rather painful. A sacrifice he’s willing to make in order to prevent a potential first-inning collapse.
“Yeah, it hurts,” Kemp admitted. “It hurts for sure but after that interference call I didn’t want it to fall in and be like ‘here we go again.’
“I just didn’t want a bloop to fall in and everyone to feel like it’s ‘why us?’ again. Stepped in hard and the ball had some backspin to it and just tried to put a glove on it.”
Saturday’s win snapped a four-game losing streak and tied the series at one game apiece with the rubber match on Sunday.
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