A game-day replacement for injured Runelvys Hernandez against the A’s on Sunday, May took a 3-1 lead into the ninth and was one strike away from his third career complete game, but he never got that final out. He gave up a two-run homer to Erubiel Durazo and Oakland went on to win 4-3 in 10 innings.
May, a 30-year-old left-hander, gave up three earned runs and six hits in his second straight start after two relief appearances. He hasn’t won since beating the White Sox last Sept. 11.
“The only thing I can tell myself is to look at the positive,” May said. “I threw nine innings, and I threw the ball well. It just goes to show you how important all 27 outs are.”
Sunday’s loss set off a four-game losing streak for the Royals, who ended the slide with Friday’s series-opening 11-6 victory. Michael Tucker tied a career-high with five RBIs and Carlos Beltran homered and drove in three runs for Kansas City, which is only 2-10 at Kauffman Stadium after an 11-0 start.
Kansas City, which held a 5 1/2 -game lead in the AL Central on May 5, is 3 1/2 games behind Minnesota.
The A’s lost for the sixth time in nine games.
Byrnes, playing in place of injured outfielder Jermaine Dye, is batting .395 (30-for-76) during his run with two homers, 10 doubles, three triples and 15 RBIs.
STANDINGS: Athletics - 2nd place, 5 GB, AL West. Royals - 2nd place, 3 1/2 GB, AL Central.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Ted Lilly (3-3, 4.10 ERA). After going unbeaten in his first five starts, Lilly has lost three of his last four decisions, including a 3-1 home loss to the Royals on Saturday. The lefty gave up three earned runs and three hits over 6 1-3 innings in his only career start against Kansas City.
ROYALS PROBABLE STARTER: May (0-1, 4.09 ERA). May, in his second season with Kansas City after pitching in Japan for four years, has allowed more than three earned runs just twice in his eight starts this season. He is 0-1 all-time against Oakland with a 4.08 ERA in six games, including three starts.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Athletics - Durazo, .283 avg., 38 RBIs and 31 runs; Eric Chavez and Tejada, 9 HRs; Chavez, 5 SBs. Royals - Mike Sweeney, .301 avg., and 30 RBIs; Sweeney and Beltran, 9 HRs; Raul Ibanez, 32 runs; Beltran, 7 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Athletics, 3-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Athletics - RF Long extended his consecutive games played streak to 452 on Friday. … DH Durazo is batting .407 (11-for-27) during a seven-game hitting streak with two homers, a double and six RBIs. … SS Tejada has a 10-game hitting streak, but hasn’t homered since May 16, a stretch of 47 at-bats. Royals - The Royals led 3-2 after the first on Friday, marking the first time since the first inning of the game May 18 against Toronto that Kansas City led at home. The Royals had trailed in 35 straight innings at home. … As a member of the Atlanta Braves, OF Tucker set a career high with five RBIs at Cincinnati on April 30, 1997. … Prior to Friday, the Royals had lost nine of 10 against Oakland.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Athletics - 11-15 on the road; Royals - 14-10 at home.
INJURIES: Athletics - OF Dye (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Micah Bowie (elbow), 15-day DL. Royals - INF Carlos Febles (finger), 15-day DL; OF Dee Brown (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Miguel Asencio (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Hernandez (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Albie Lopez (groin), 15-day DL.