KANSAS CITY -- With just 19 games remaining, the defending World Series champion Royals can't afford many more losses.
So the start of an eight-game homestand against two non-contending teams was supposed to serve as a potential springboard. Instead, the Royals suffered a 16-3 loss at the hands of the A's on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals had a chance to gain on Baltimore in the race for the American League's second Wild Card spot, but instead remained four games back.
"These games are easy to turn the page," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's a lot tougher losing a one-run game or a game in extra innings. We just got beat. We just didn't play good; we didn't pitch good. And we got beat."
The A's battered Royals pitching for 17 hits. Royals starter Dillon Gee never made it out of the fourth, giving up five hits and five runs while walking four.
"It's definitely one of those nights to forget," Gee said. "It [stinks]. I mean when you don't have it and you're out there searching and trying to find something in a big league game against big league hitters, it's not good. They scored a lot of runs, but it's only one game. We can still come back and take the series."
Khris Davis got the A's going with a three-run blast off Gee into the fountains beyond left-center field, his 36th. The A's added three more in the fourth, two coming home on Stephen Vogt's two-run single. Marcus Semien added a three-run homer, his 24th, in the sixth.
"It's great to have a game like that," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We haven't enjoyed a game like that in a while, especially offensively. For a team that's struggled to score runs, it's nice to have a good mood in the dugout the whole game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Khrushed: Davis' 36th home run was a doozy. The three-run blast, measured at 467 feet, is the 11th longest home run hit by any player this season, per Statcast™ data, and also the longest by any A's player this year. The exit velocity was recorded at 112.1 mph, marking his fifth hardest-hit ball this season.
"It looks like a line drive, left-center field," Melvin said. "Here, you're thinking it might, might not get out, and it ends up in the fountains. I'd like to say it's surprises me, but it doesn't anymore with the home runs we've seen him hit this year."
Stay hot, Mo:Kendrys Morales delivered an RBI single for the Royals in the third inning, tying the score 3-3. The Royals had gotten on the board with a two-run double from Paulo Orlando earlier in the inning. Morales now has a 14-game hitting streak, and RBIs in seven straight games, extending his career-high streak.
Olson, Nunez debut: Matt Olson, the A's No. 15 prospect and a first-round Draft pick by the club in 2012, made his anticipated debut Monday, entering the game in the bottom of the eighth inning as a defensive replacement at first base. Olson recorded his first Major League plate appearance in the ninth inning, drawing a four-pitch walk. Fellow prospect Renato Nunez, rated as the A's No. 5 prospect, followed with a pinch-hit at-bat for his big league debut, grounding out.
Olson totaled 384 walks in 586 Minor League games, prompting Melvin to jokingly ask Olson, "Is that your first walk of the year?"
"If anyone is apropos of getting a walk in their first Major League at-bat, it's probably him," Melvin said. "Any other time, I'd probably let him swing 3-0 just to try to let him potentially get a hit, but he'd have taken it anyway."
"Everybody has gotten on me about it," Olson said, smiling. More >
Dozier makes MLB debut: The Royals' No. 2 prospectHunter Dozier finally made his Major League debut after sitting since being called up Sept. 2. Dozier, a third baseman, actually played right field, where he has played some in the Minors. Dozier entered the game in the seventh, then came up to the plate in the ninth and struck out.
"It was an unreal experience," Dozier said. "It's been awhile since I played a game. But it was incredible. I'm kind of speechless." More >
Royals second baseman Christian Colon made a highlight-reel play in the first inning, venturing to the left of second base to snare a grounder by Davis. Colon then leaped, spun half-around and threw across his body to fist to get Davis for the final out.
WHAT'S NEXT A's: Right-hander Jharel Cotton will be on the mound in Kansas City on Tuesday for his second Major League start, having tossed 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball against the Angels in his debut last week. First pitch for the second game of this four-game series at Kauffman Stadium is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. PT.
Royals: Left-hander Danny Duffy (11-2, 3.13 ERA) gets the start for the Royals in game two of the series on Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. CT. Duffy gave up two earned runs through six innings last Wednesday against the Twins. He struck 10, his third double-digit strikeout game of the season.