OAKLAND (AP) — Cam Gallagher hit a grand slam for his first career home run and second big league hit, leading the Kansas City Royals past the Oakland Athletics 6-2 on Monday night.
Gallagher’s shot into the left-field seats in the sixth inning marked the first grand slam by a Royals rookie since Paulo Orlando connected in the first game of a doubleheader against Tampa Bay on July 7, 2015.
Jake Junis (5-2), recalled for his seventh stint with Kansas City this season, allowed two runs and four hits in six innings with two strikeouts and no walks.
The Royals moved into a second-place tie with the idle Twins, five games back of AL Central-leading Cleveland.
Alcides Escobar singled to load the bases in the sixth, and is 10 for 21 since an 0-for-21 stretch.
Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain robbed Boog Powell of a likely extra-base hit in the third with a great catch crashing into the wall.
Whit Merrifield hit an infield single to begin the game against A’s starter Jharel Cotton (5-10) and then stole his 20th base.
Cotton came off the disabled list July 30 from a right thumb blister and has an 8.71 ERA in four starts since. His winless stretch reached five starts and he is 0-3 since a victory at the White Sox on June 23.
The right-hander was tagged for six runs and eight hits in six innings. He dropped to 1-7 in nine night starts and 2-6 in 10 home outings.
Gallagher’s grand slam earned Tim Brown of Shawnee, Kansas, $25,000 as part of the “Sonic Slam” inning promotion.
Oakland drew just 9,848 fans to the Coliseum for its second-smallest crowd of the season behind a July 17 game against Tampa Bay that attracted 9,736.
Athletics: C Josh Phegley is scheduled to travel Tuesday and play Wednesday for Triple-A Nashville at Tacoma in a rehab game as he returns from a strained left oblique that landed him on the disabled list July 25. ... RHP Bobby Wahl underwent thoracic outlet surgery to alleviate shoulder problems. The procedure was done in Dallas, and Wahl is scheduled to return to Oakland on Thursday and begin rehabbing.
Royals: RHP Jason Hammel (5-9, 4.68 ERA), who spent the second half of the 2014 season with Oakland, has allowed three or fewer runs in seven straight starts with just one win to show for it. He has a two-start winless stretch and just one victory in his last six outings.
Athletics: RHP Chris Smith (0-2, 5.29) makes his seventh appearance and sixth career start still searching for his first victory since one win with Boston in 2008.
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