The young pitcher breezed through seven innings, allowing a pair of singles and three walks, and got just enough offence from Khris Davis' two-run homer to help the Athletics spoil Kansas City's home opener with a 2-0 victory at sun-splashed Kauffman Stadium.
The right-hander's lone bit of slippage in his six innings of work came in the fourth inning when Ryon Healy's sinking liner to right couldn't be handled by a diving Paolo Orlando and Davis followed that up with his fourth homer. The shot to right field on a 3-0 pitch from Ian Kennedy (0-2) barely scraped over the wall, but it gave Cotton the only help he needed against a punchless Kansas City lineup.
Cotton is coming off his first loss in the major leagues, a 5-0 setback against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday in which he failed to last five innings. But the mistake he threw to Davis proved to be decisive.
In matching his career high in innings pitched, the 25-year-old right-hander changed speeds, hit the corners and kept the ball at the knees and away from the power of the Royals bats. Doolittle's save was his first since June 23, 2016.
Cubs' Baez returns to lineup day after outfield collision
For the second time in the new season, the Cubs started their first-round draft picks from the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. The Cubs will unveil the championship banner Monday and will receive their World Series rings in a pregame ceremony Wednesday.
The Royals managed to have just one at bat with a runner at third base, it was the final out of the evening as well. The game ended with Brandon Moss striking out.
Ventura passed away this January in a auto wreck in the Dominican Republic.
First baseman Eric Hosmer joined the Royals organization in 2008, the same year Ventura signed with Kansas City as an global free agent.
Pictures of him flashed on the massive, crown-shaped video board in center field and there was a moment of silence before a saxophonist began to play 'Amazing Grace'. Among them was a very special first pitch. Victor Baez, the Royals' Dominican Academy coordinator and a father figure to Ventura, was in the Buck O'Neil seat.