Royals 6, Athletics 1
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—The Kansas City Royals are as baffled as the Oakland Athletics that they stole two of three from the AL West leaders—with A’s aces Mark Mulder and Barry Zito on the mound, no less.
Joe Randa hit a three-run double with two outs in the seventh inning to spoil a strong start by Zito and lead the Royals over the A’s 6-1 on Sunday.
“We didn’t really generate anything all day off him, and we got pretty lucky,” Randa said. “I was able to get a pitch to handle and do something with it.”
David DeJesus singled leading off the ninth to extend his hitting streak to 15 games, a Royals rookie record that matches the club’s longest this year. DeJesus struck out twice, walked and was hit by a pitch.
Kansas City also won 10-3 Friday night in a game that featured two grand slams off Mulder, a 15-game winner who was the AL’s winning pitcher in the All-Star game. It marks the first time in a month the Royals have won a road series, and the first time this season the A’s have lost back-to-back home series.
Oakland lost to of three against Detroit last week.
“Disappointing, very disappointing,” manager Ken Macha said.
Zack Greinke (5-9), who made his major league debut in Oakland on May 22, won for the first time in seven road starts this season—and the Royals got just their sixth victory in their last 26 games away from Kauffman Stadium.
Greinke gave up one run on six hits in seven strong innings, struck out four and walked one.
Royals manager Tony Pena considered the weekend a confidence boost for his club.
“No question about it,” he said. “Especially when you’re playing all those young kids, it’s good for them to know how to win.”
The left-hander received a lively standing ovation when he hustled off the field after giving way to Ricardo Rincon. Zito gave the fans a quick wave before disappearing into the dugout.
Rincon hit DeJesus with a pitch on a full-count to load the bases after getting two strikes to start the at-bat, then Justin Duchscherer relieved and gave up Randa’s double off the wall in left-center.
Duchscherer gave up a two-run single to Gotay in the eighth, and Abraham Nunez had an RBI single in the ninth.
Zito (8-9) matched his season high with nine strikeouts. It was his longest scoreless effort since June 3, when he didn’t allow a run in seven innings of the A’s 3-2, 11-inning victory against Toronto.
“I had a lot of my stuff down in the zone today, which is good,” Zito said. “I felt good all day and then they brought bullpen in. We have confidence in the bullpen. It’s just one of those days.”
Zito retired the side in order in the first, fourth and fifth innings. He worked out of a second-inning jam and another in the sixth.
DeJesus drew a leadoff walk, then stole second on Randa’s strikeout. DeJesus advanced to third on an infield single by Ken Harvey, but Zito got Nunez to fly out to end the inning.
Eric Byrnes drove in Oakland’s run with a two-out single in the fourth, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. But there weren’t many other offensive bright spots for Oakland.
“Our offense isn’t contributing right now,” Bobby Crosby said. “This is surprising about the homestand. We’ve played so well at home all year and then we have this.”
Eric Chavez was a late scratch for the A’s because of stiffness in his lower back. The three-time Gold Glove third baseman was replaced by Mark McLemore, who was going to play second but moved to third. Marco Scutaro started at second.
Trainer Larry Davis didn’t consider Chavez’s discomfort to be serious. Chavez will wear a heat pad on his back during the team’s cross-country flight to Baltimore.
The A’s won the season series 7-2, but finished the six-game homestand 2-4— their first losing homestand against more than one team since May 7-12, 2002.
Oakland went 5-5 during a 10-game stretch against the AL Central. The A’s head to Baltimore to face former teammate Miguel Tejada. … Injured Oakland lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes, out since June 22 with a strained back, pitched one scoreless inning in a rehab start at Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday, striking out two and walking one. He’ll pitch there again Monday, then join the team in Baltimore on Tuesday. He’s expected to be activated Wednesday. … Harvey has the team’s other 15-game hitting streak this season, from May 22-June 6.