Smith homers twice to lead Royals past A’s 7-3
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—The Kansas City Royals’ 100th franchise victory in Oakland had a bit of everything.
Jason Smith hit a pair of two-run homers, Ross Gload also connected and the Kansas City Royals captured the season series with the Athletics for the first time in nine years with a 7-3 victory Saturday night.
“I just picked a day when the wind was blowing out. Honestly I can’t explain it,” Smith said. “I was just fortunate enough to put two good swings on it.”
Odalis Perez (8-11) recorded his first career decision against Oakland, winning back-to-back starts for the first time since April 20 and 25, and Kansas City owns its first three-game winning streak since getting four straight victories from July 26-29.
Perez pitched five shutout innings and has a combined 15 scoreless innings against the A’s in three appearances.
A’s second baseman Mark Ellis thought he had seen his Oakland record errorless streak at the position end at 81 games in bizarre fashion. With Joey Gathright heading to second on Mark Teahen’s bouncing grounder in the fifth, Ellis charged in on the ball and made contact with Gathright.
Ellis fumed moments later believing that Gathright was out on interference and made a rare argument to second base umpire Mike Muchlinski. A’s manager Bob Geren hustled out and separated them, then began yelling himself. Geren, who was also calling for interference on the runner, was ejected—the second time the rookie skipper has been tossed.
“I was clearly going to get the ball and make the play and the guy ran into me,” Ellis said. “Clearly he would have been out at first base. … I won’t (argue) unless I know I’m right, and I’m pretty sure I’m right. He said he thought the ball was past me.”
An inning later, Teahen was credited with a single and Ellis’ error was removed. Teahen later left the game after hyperextending his elbow diving for a ball and was expected to sit out Sunday’s series finale.
Geren was thankful Ellis didn’t get hurt in the collision. The beat-up A’s can’t afford any more injuries.
“The fielder has the right to field the ball,” Geren said, acknowledging that was the most angry he’s been for some time. “His opinion was the ball wasn’t close enough to Mark. … What made me angry is I almost saw my guy get hurt.”
Smith hit just his third homer of the year in the second and had another in the eighth for his third career multihomer game.
Alex Gordon added an RBI single earlier in the second inning. Gload homered to start the sixth, doubled and scored twice for the Royals, who last won the season series when it took seven of 11 games in 1998. They took three of four from the A’s in the Coliseum from May 14-17.
On a night both starters had problems with command, the A’s rallied against reliever Joel Peralta in the sixth. Jack Cust led off the inning with a triple, Mike Piazza followed with an RBI double and Jeff DaVanon tripled in a run one out later. Donnie Murphy followed with a sacrifice fly that pulled Oakland within 4-3, then Jack Hannahan’s walk chased Peralta.
Perez worked through Oakland’s order until allowing three straight two-out walks to Shannon Stewart, Nick Swisher and Cust to load the bases in the third. He went to 3-1 on Piazza, but the designated hitter flied out to shallow left.
“He had a little trouble in the first and big trouble in the third,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said. “He has a knack of getting out of it though. He’s not afraid to go deep into counts. He’s tough and he knows what he’s doing. At times it’s not pretty but he gets it done.”
Perez allowed three hits, struck out two and walked four in his first outing against Oakland since pitching in relief on June 18, 2006, while with the Dodgers.
Chad Gaudin (9-9) lost for the sixth time in his last seven decisions. He won at Detroit in his previous outing Aug. 13 following a six-start winless stretch in which he went 0-5 since a victory July 5 against Seattle.
“I thought I pitched a decent game,” Gaudin said. “You’re going to give up hits. You’re going to give up runs. You’re going to give up home runs. You’ve just got to minimize it.”
The A’s featured five players in the starting lineup who weren’t on the opening day roster, including three who weren’t even in the organization back in April.
DaVanon, released by Arizona earlier this month, played center field in his first start with the A’s after getting one at-bat Friday night after being called up from Triple-A Sacramento.
Smith’s last two-homer game came April 9, 2006, at San Diego while with Colorado. Fourteen of his 15 career homers have come on the road. … Swisher leads the A’s with 90 walks. … The Royals are 18-12 against the AL West, and have four more games to go with their former division rivals—Sunday’s series finale with the A’s and three games at Texas in early September. … Oakland’s five losses to Kansas City at home are the most for the A’s against the Royals since dropping four games in 1995. … Tony Pena drew his second walk since May 5 starting the seventh.