Oakland at Kansas City

Kansas City
W: B. Cramer (1-0) L: L. Hochevar (5-5)
S: A. Bailey (24)
HR: OAK - J. Cust (11)   KC - M. Aviles (3)

Ex-substitute teacher wins big-league debut for A's

CBSSports.com wire reports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Bobby Cramer kept believing in himself all those years, even if few others did.

Cramer's long and winding trek culminated with a win in his major-league debut Monday when he pitched the Oakland Athletics past the Kansas City Royals 3-1.

"Just getting here was amazing in itself, but now that I'm here I want to pitch well and want to show everybody who I think I can be up here," he said.

Cramer (1-0), a left-hander who turns 31 next month, started his pro career in 2003 in the Tampa Bay system. Cut by the Rays, he was a substitute high school math teacher and worked in pipeline maintenance while out of baseball in 2005-06.

Cramer played in an independent league in 2008, then began this year in the Mexican League.

"There were times I felt this was an uphill battle, that I may never get over that hump," he said. "I never doubted my own ability. I had a lot of internal confidence. I felt like I was good enough. That's what made me persist. I wanted to challenge myself to get to the next level."

Cramer held the Royals to one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.

Cramer went 13-3 with a 2.95 ERA in 22 games with Quintana in Mexico this season.

At that point, he wasn't about to give up.

"When I got released in '05, I tried to convince myself I was done," he said. "I was with Tampa and at the time they were a struggling organization, that would give young guys a chance and promote you if you played well. I couldn't even get out of A ball with them. I thought that was God's way of trying to tell me that this just isn't it. The problem is I quit physically, but I never quit mentally."

Cramer became the oldest pitcher in Athletics franchise history to make a start in his big league debut since Steve Gerkin for the Philadelphia A's on May 13, 1945.

"When you travel a road as tough as the one he has, I think he's more appreciative of this opportunity, a little older, more mature, tougher mentally sometimes than a young kid," A's manager Bob Geren said. "I'm very happy with him going that deep into the game and keeping a lead. You'll definitely see him again."

Andrew Bailey worked the ninth for his 24th save in 27 opportunities.

Jack Cust hit his 100th home run, connecting in the Oakland sixth off Bryan Bullington.

Mike Aviles homered in the fourth for the only run off Cramer. Aviles hit his first home run since May 9, a span of 316 at-bats, and finished with three of the Royals' seven hits.

Luke Hochevar (5-5) lost in his first start since missing nearly three months with a sprained right elbow. He gave up two unearned runs and two hits in five innings. He walked three and threw just 39 strikes in 78 pitches.

"I didn't feel like my command was sharp," Hochevar said. "I had too many three-ball counts. I put myself in that situation. If I'm on top of my game the defense is going to be there. But when I'm lulling my defenders to sleep, that's when errors happen. I'm past the elbow issue. Now it's about executing pitches and getting batters out."

The A's took advantage of sloppy Royals fielding to take an early lead.

"I wouldn't even classify it as an eyesore," Royals manager Ned Yost said of his defense. "It was worse. It wasn't good baseball. We'd still be out there playing if we hadn't given them a couple."

In the first inning, Aviles and Hochevar made errors and rookie catcher Lucas May was charged with a passed ball. Aviles' wild throw from second base on what could have been a double-play grounder by Kurt Suzuki allowed Coco Crisp to score.

Crisp began the game reaching on Hochevar's error and stealing second. Crisp has stolen at least one base in five straight games, totaling nine in that span, to run his total to a career-high 32.

Crisp's string of 24 steals ended in the fifth when he was caught trying to swipe third base.

Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson, making his first big league start, dropped Cliff Pennington's fly in the second for an error that let Aki Iwamura score.


  • K.C. utilityman Willie Bloomquist was pulled from the starting lineup and traded to the Cincinnati Reds. The Royals will receive a player to be named or cash.
  • The A's transferred OF-1B Conor Jackson, who had sports hernia surgery Sept. 1, to the 60-day disabled list to make roster space for Iwamura, who was signed as a free agent. Iwamura started at third as 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff missed his seventh straight game with lower back spasms.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Kurt Suzuki gives Bobby Cramer some words of wisdom during his victorious big-league debut.  (AP)
Kurt Suzuki gives Bobby Cramer some words of wisdom during his victorious big-league debut. (AP)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

M. Aviles
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1

J. Cust
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

Related Video

Oakland Athletics
Coco Crisp, CF4110001 .273
Daric Barton, 1B3000110 .278
Kurt Suzuki, C4000000 .242
Jack Cust, DH4111011 .277
Mark Ellis, 2B4010011 .274
Jeremy Hermida, RF4010011 .198
Akinori Iwamura, 3B2100211 .180
Rajai Davis, LF3000002 .267
Cliff Pennington, SS3000000 .247
2B - Jeremy Hermida (10, Bullington)
HR - Jack Cust (11, Bullington)
RBI - Jack Cust (44)
SB - Coco Crisp 2 (32, 2nd base off Hochevar/May, 2nd base off Hochevar/May)
CS - Coco Crisp (3, 3rd base by Hochevar/May)
Team LOB - 4
DP - Pennington-Ellis-Barton
Oakland Athletics
Bob Cramer (W,1-0) 5.1411141 1.69
Brad Ziegler (H,16) 0.1100100 3.02
Jerry Blevins (H,11) 0.1000010 3.78
Michael Wuertz (H,9) 1000020 4.42
Craig Breslow (H,15) 1100000 3.31
Andrew Bailey (S,24) 1100110 1.50
Pitches-Strikes - Bob Cramer 91-59, Brad Ziegler 10-6, Jerry Blevins 7-4, Michael Wuertz 15-10, Craig Breslow 9-6, Andrew Bailey 21-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bob Cramer 7-3, Brad Ziegler 1-0, Craig Breslow 2-1
Batters Faced - Bob Cramer 19, Brad Ziegler 3, Jerry Blevins 1, Michael Wuertz 3, Craig Breslow 4, Andrew Bailey 5
Kansas City Royals
Jarrod Dyson, CF4010010 .200
Mike Aviles, 2B4131001 .294
Billy Butler, DH4000002 .310
Josh Fields, 3B3000120 .292
Wilson Betemit, LF4020022 .306
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS4010002 .258
Kila Ka'aihue, 1B3000111 .198
    Gregor Blanco, PR0000000 .273
Jai Miller, RF2000120 .265
   a- Brayan Pena, PH1000002 .261
Lucas May, C3000002 .083
a-popped out for Ja. Miller in the 9th
2B - Jarrod Dyson (1, Cramer)
HR - Mike Aviles (3, Cramer)
RBI - Mike Aviles (20)
CS - Jarrod Dyson (1, 3rd base by Cramer/Suzuki)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Ka'aihue-Betancourt
PB - Lucas May (3)
E - Mike Aviles (13, Throwing), Jarrod Dyson (1, Dropped line drive), Luke Hochevar (1, Missed catch of throw)
Kansas City Royals
Luke Hochevar (L,5-5) 5220320 4.81
Bryan Bullington 4211031 5.72
Pitches-Strikes - Luke Hochevar 78-39, Bryan Bullington 54-35
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luke Hochevar 8-5, Bryan Bullington 4-5
Batters Faced - Luke Hochevar 20, Bryan Bullington 14
Game Information
Attendance - 20695
Game Time - 2:43
Temperature - 85
Umpires - Home - D.J. Reyburn, First Base - Mike Muchlinski, Second Base - Brian Gorman, Third Base - Tony Randazzo