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Athletics’ Mason Miller building momentum after solid outing vs. Royals

Miller building momentum after a solid outing vs. Royals originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Mason Miller continues his recent hot streak.

Although the Athletics dropped the final game of a three-game series, 5-1, to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium, the 24-year-old did what he could to help Oakland’s bullpen.

“I always want to give as many innings as I can,” Miller told reporters after the loss. “Our guys in the ‘pen are working hard and throughout the first month and a half, they’ve been asked to do a lot so I think as much as we can, we want to put them in the positions to succeed too.

“So I’m always happy to go out and give as many as I can.”

After holding the Seattle Mariners hitless through seven innings in his previous start on May 2, Miller followed that up by giving up five hits, two runs, and one walk in six innings of work against Kansas City. He also struck out five Royals hitters.

A’s manager Mark Kotsay believes Miller was “good” against Kansas City and sees his young pitcher building momentum to get where he and Oakland want him to be.

“Each start, I think he’s gotten better and better,” Kotsay said to reporters after the game. “Today, he had five strikeouts and only one walk. Veteran [Salvador Perez] got him early in the game and seemed to see him pretty well, probably the only guy in the lineup really.

“Overall, a good performance. He got six innings under his belt and we continue to make strides going in the right direction.”

The moment Kotsay is referring to happened in the bottom of the first inning. After throwing a multitude of fastballs, Royals catcher Salvador Perez connected on a 99-MPH heater and blasted it an estimated 462 feet.

Aside from that home run and giving up a lone walk that eventually came around to score, Miller’s outing was similar to his starts against the Chicago Cubs on April 19 — his MLB debut — and the Los Angeles Angels on April 25.

Both those starts had Miller striking out five or more batters while walking one, showing the effectiveness of his pitches.

While Miller continues to show what he can do as a starter, the A’s, more importantly, won their first series of the 2023 MLB season. Although it would have been nice to sweep the Royals, Miller says the team isn’t too worried about the sweep and was more concerned about winning the series.

“Obviously, you come to the ballpark trying to win every single game,” he continued. “I think, as a whole, we’re happy that we’re able to take two out of the three, I think that’s a good place for us.

“But obviously, we leave the third out there, that kind of sucks but I don’t think we’re going to beat ourselves up too much over it and we’re going to look ahead.”

RELATED: Miller has ‘unbelievable’ MLB debut in A’s loss to Cubs

Looking ahead, the A’s are slated to face the New York Yankees for a three-game series at Yankee Stadium beginning on Monday before flying back to Oakland for a four-game set with the Texas Rangers.

If Miller and the rest of the A’s starters are able to capitalize on their series win against the Royals, that will definitely put Oakland in a favorable position moving forward.

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