OAKLAND -- Playing in a quiet atmosphere amidst a steady rain at the Coliseum on Tuesday night, the A's offense proved equally silent against Royals lefty Danny Duffy.
The result was a 3-0 rain-shortened loss, their fourth in six games this season, as they head into Wednesday's rubber match with Kansas City.
Rain covered the field all night, but the two teams were intent on getting in the game in an attempt to avoid a possible doubleheader on Wednesday. With two outs in the top of the eighth, after Eric Hosmer lost the handle of his bat in the downpour, sending it into the visitor's dugout, the game was delayed for a second time before being called.
"They needed to stop it when they did," manager Bob Melvin said. "You couldn't even see the outfielders from the dugout at that time."
In a game whose start was delayed by 43 minutes, the A's never found a rhythm against Duffy, who walked four but allowed just one hit with eight strikeouts in six innings of work. The California kid, a product of Lompoc in the southern part of the state, maintained a mid-90s fastball in the wet weather -- while also displaying an effective breaking ball.
"He pitched well, you gotta give him credit," Melvin said. "He has plus-velocity, and he threw us more changeups than we anticipated."
A's starter Graham Godfrey, meanwhile, allowed six hits, three of which came in a two-run Royals fourth. Billy Butler's leadoff double was followed by Jeff Francoeur's base hit. Mike Moustakas' RBI double scored Butler, while Humberto Quintero followed two batters later with a sacrifice fly to score Francoeur.
The inning left Godfrey wanting to press the rewind button.
"Looking back, I left a fastball over the middle of the plate to Moustakas, and I was scratching my head at the ball Butler hit," Godfrey said. "I don't know how he got to it. Then, the ball Francoeur hit, I don't know if any other human puts that in play."
Otherwise, Godfrey fared rather well, despite taking a loss in his season debut. He gave the A's six innings of work before handing the ball over to an Oakland bullpen that extended the Royals' lead by one, when lefty Jerry Blevins surrendered a leadoff homer to Mitch Maier to start the seventh.
The A's didn't depart without more than one chance to score, though. Twice they put a runner in scoring position with just one out, but were unable to capitalize.
In the third, Cliff Pennington collected Oakland's first and only hit of the night -- a one-out double. But minutes later, he was picked off at second by Duffy. The baserunning error marked the A's second of the night, as Collin Cowgill -- making his first start of the season -- was doubled off at first base on Daric Barton's fly ball to end the second inning.
It was Kansas City center fielder Lorenzo Cain who made the impressive catch on Barton's deep ball. Melvin was quick to point out that he was the one calling for Cowgill to run.
"That was a tremendous catch," Melvin said. "I didn't think there was a chance he'd get to that ball, and it ended up being a big play as it turned out."
"It was a great play by Lorenzo Cain out there, and I was so hyped after that," Duffy said. "When my family's here, it's really easy to be loose on the mound -- and we had about 150 people here from Santa Barbara County. So I had a great time out there. I couldn't help but smile out there a couple times. It was fun."
The A's weren't about to blame the rain for their lackluster play, though.
"A little wet for baseball," Godfrey said, "but nothing I haven't seen before."
"When you're competing, it doesn't matter," Melvin said. "We've played in small crowds and in inclement weather, but it doesn't affect us."