KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tommy Milone pitched a gem for eight innings but needed help from Grant Balfour to finish as the Oakland Athletics held on to beat the Kansas City Royals 6-3 on Friday night.
Milone limited the Royals to two singles in eight innings before giving up four consecutive hits and three runs in the ninth.
He was replaced by Balfour, who got the final two outs for his 22nd save in as many opportunities. Balfour is perfect in his past 40 save chances, tying Dennis Eckersley for the club record set in 1991-92.
The A's have won seven of nine to move a season-best 15 games above .500.
Milone, a 26-year-old left-hander, had allowed 14 runs and 21 hits, including five home runs, in 16 innings in his previous three starts. He had permitted at least one home run in his previous eight starts.
Milone (8-7), however, baffled the Royals until the ninth, retiring the first 10 batters. Eric Hosmer, who extended his hitting streak to seven games, singled with two outs in the fifth for the Royals' first base runner.
The Royals did not get a runner past first base until the ninth when they scored three runs. David Lough and Alcides Escobar hit back-to-back doubles for the first run. Hosmer singled up the middle to bring home Escobar. Billy Butler's single finished Milone.
Balfour yielded a run-producing single to Salvador Perez before retiring Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas to protect the lead.
Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp led the A's offense. Reddick contributed a double, triple, sacrifice fly and two RBIs. Crisp drove in three runs, including a two-run, two-out single in the three-run ninth, as Oakland padded its lead.
Royals right-hander Wade Davis (4-7) went seven innings and allowed three runs and six hits while striking out eight and walking one.
Milone retired the first 11 batters he faced before Hosmer laced a single to center with out in the fourth. Hosmer was the Royals' lone base runner the first five innings.
Reddick doubled to left with one out in the third and scored on Eric Sogard's single to shallow left for the first Oakland run. Reddick and Sogard were each hitless in their previous nine at-bats.
The A's added two runs in the fifth when John Jaso led off with a walk. Reddick's triple to right center scored Jaso. Reddick scored on Crisp's fly out to left.
NOTES: LF Alex Gordon has received clearance from the Royals' medical staff after he did well on tests for a possible concussion. He must be cleared by an independent doctor assigned by Major League Baseball before playing, however. Gordon, who was injured Wednesday when running into the fence attempting to make a catch against Cleveland, also has a badly bruised hip. ... The A's are 16-18 in day games while hitting just .240. Their next two games are afternoon games at Kauffman Stadium. ... Reddick has reached base in a career-best 14 consecutive games by a hit or walk.