Athletics rally for 5-4 win against Royals

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Jonathan Broxton lost his command and lost the game on his final two pitches.

Broxton hit Jonny Gomes on the first pitch he threw with the bases loaded in the 12th inning, forcing Jemile Weeks home for the winning run in the Kansas City Royals’ 5-4 loss Wednesday to the Oakland Athletics.

Moments earlier, Kansas City’s new closer (0-1) plunked rookie cleanup hitter Yoenis Cespedes on the first pitch to load the bases, prompting a mound visit from pitching coach Dave Eiland.

“I wasn’t very good today, with the walks and everything else. It started out good but I just didn’t have it,” said Broxton, hoping to return to the form that made him one of baseball’s most feared ninth-inning pitchers a couple of years back. “One was a sinker and one was a four-seam fastball.”

It marked the third time the A’s won on a game-ending hit by pitch in Oakland history and first since Olmedo Saenz on July 20, 2002, against Texas.

“You can hit me four times if we win,” said Gomes, nearly plunked earlier by a heater from Kelvin Herrera. “We have to write that down and keep it in the back of our minds because 98 mph could end your season.”

Coco Crisp’s RBI groundout earlier in the 12th tied it at 4 after Billy Butler doubled home the go-ahead run in top half of the inning against Andrew Carignan (1-1).

A day after rain shortened the Royals’ 3-0 win following seven-plus innings, fans got their share of baseball in the finale.

Cespedes already has been hit three times, and his teammates are taking notice. While Cespedes didn’t think Broxton intentionally fired at him — “Everybody could see he was wild” — he was glad to hear starter Brandon McCarthy had spoken up on his behalf and the pitchers would consider retaliation if it comes to that point.

These teams meet again June 1-3 in Kansas City, and suspended A’s slugger Manny Ramirez could be in the lineup by then. He’s eligible to play on his 40th birthday May 30 if all stays on track.

For now, Kansas City heads home for the first time since the start of spring training in mid-February at 3-3, but without the same momentum it would have had with a second winning road series after taking two of three at Los Angeles.

“It’s been a good road trip in terms of our pitching staff. The bullpen did a phenomenal job to keep us in it as we waited for the big hit,” manager Ned Yost said. “We got it with Billy’s double.”

Oakland closer Grant Balfour pitched a scoreless ninth and 10th. He allowed Alcides Escobar’s leadoff single in the 10th and a two-out walk to Jeff Francoeur on four pitches before striking out Mike Moustakas.

The A’s now head out for their first real road trip — a seven-gamer — considering the two matchups with the Mariners in Tokyo two weeks ago counted as Oakland home games. They get Seattle ace Felix Hernandez for the third time Friday at Safeco Field.

Kansas City’s Alex Gordon hit a tying home run off Brian Fuentes in the seventh.

Jose Mijares hit Josh Reddick with a breaking ball in the right shoulder area leading off the eighth, and the ball ricocheted into Reddick’s neck and jaw as he tried to raise his arm to protect himself. He went down for a couple of minutes before leaving the game. Crisp came in to run and Greg Holland relieved Mijares, but the A’s couldn’t capitalize.

Reddick briefly had spotty vision and was put through concussion tests as a precaution but he expects to play Friday.

“That last inning was kind of weird,” Reddick said. “You don’t really see a game ending like that.”

Gomes hit a two-run homer in the fourth to put the A’s ahead and McCarthy in position for his first victory of the season before Fuentes gave it up.

Cespedes doubled, swiped third for his first steal and scored on catcher Brayan Pena’s throwing error to make it 1-0 Oakland in the second. Pena threw wildly into left field trying to get Cespedes at third on his steal.

Cespedes hit his first career single in the 11th after his initial five hits went for extra bases. The Cuban rookie wrapped up his first homestand 4 for 16 with two home runs and eight strikeouts.

Gordon also singled in a run in the third for the Royals, who squandered a chance when they left the bases loaded in the fifth.

Mitch Maier started in center field for the Royals as Yost had planned. Maier entered Tuesday’s game as an injury replacement for Lorenzo Cain, who left with a strained left groin following a double play in the second.

Cain already was slated to sit out the day game, and the Royals listed him as day to day with the hope he would be ready for the club’s home opener Friday against Cleveland.

Notes: The Royals will work out this afternoon at Kauffman Stadium before Luke Hochevar starts Friday against the Indians’ Derek Lowe. ... The A’s are offering free comp tickets for a field-level seat to another game for fans who attended Tuesday’s rainy game.

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