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Royals' Mazzaro shuts down A's

The SportsXchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Vin Mazzaro was once penciled in as part of future Oakland Athletics rotations.

He was a 2005 third-round pick of the A's and in their rotation in 2009-2010, making 35 starts, but he was traded to the Kansas City Royals for outfielder David DeJesus after the 2010 season.

Mazzaro beat the A's 2-0 Sunday, holding them to four singles in six innings, while walking three and striking out three.

Jonathan Broxton, who logged his 13th save, Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland completed the shutout.

Mazzaro (2-0) acknowledged there was "a little bit" more satisfaction in beating the team that traded him.

"It makes it a little bit better against my former team," Mazzaro said.

Mazzaro has been up and down this season with the Royals and was making only his third appearance and second start. With Jonathan Sanchez probably coming off the disabled list soon, Mazzaro is pitching to remain in the rotation.

"I try not to think about it," Mazzaro said. "I don't want to put too much pressure on myself. I just want to go out there and pitch my game. I thought I did a pretty good job out there staying focused and keeping the runs down."

Manager Ned Yost liked what he saw of Mazzaro.

"He did a good job of keeping them off balance and off the board," Yost said.

The A's loaded the bases in the first inning on Collin Cowgill and Josh Reddick singles and a Kila Ka'aihue walk, but they failed to score off Mazzaro. Brandon Inge's grounder to shortstop Alcides Escobar ended the inning and threat.

The Royals put two runners on base in the bottom of the first with an Alex Gordon walk and a Billy Butler single, but came away empty.

"I thought we had our opportunities early and we didn't score," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Mazzaro got better as the game went along. (Tommy) Milone pitched the way he's been pitching all year. He got in some jams a couple of times. But you give up two runs, you keep your team in the game with a chance to win. You expect to score at least two runs every game."

Milone (6-5), who threw eight shutout innings against the Royals in his A's debut on April 9, allowed two runs on eight hits to take the loss. He struck out six, matching his career high.

Eric Hosmer homered to straight-away center to lead off the Royals' second inning for the first run. It was Hosmer's seventh home run, but his first against a left-handed pitcher this season.

``It was just a bad pitch, trying to go away with a cutter and just left it right over the plate and that's where he hits his homers -- right there, kind of middle in," Milone said. "Just left it there for him.''

Adam Rosales walked to leadoff the A's fifth and stopped at second on Cowgill's single. After Cliff Pennington's sacrifice bunt advanced both runners, Reddick flied out to left fielder Alex Gordon, who made a basket catch in foul territory and threw out Rosales at home. Rosales barreled over catcher Brayan Pena, who held onto the ball for an inning-ending double play.

"We've got to take a chance," Melvin said. "The guy made a helluva play. He really did -- off-balance throw, on the run. It has to be right on the money. The way we've been swinging the bats, to an extent, you have to take the opportunity to score the run right there. But it was a heck of a play.''

The Royals got another run in the fifth when Johnny Giavotella singled home Jarrod Dyson, who led off the inning with a single and stole second.

The A's have lost 10 of 11 games and have been shutout in three of their past four games.

``It's been definitely a tough stretch," said Pennington, who is hitless in his past 29 at-bats, a career high hitless streak. "We played pretty well earlier in the year, and lately, we haven't been getting the hits like we were. We've just got to start getting that big hit.''

Notes: A's 2B Jemile Weeks was held out of the starting lineup because of a hip strain, which he sustained Saturday. Weeks grounded out as a pinch hitter Sunday to end his nine-game hitting streak....Royals 3B Mike Moustakas, who is hitting .239 with only two RBIs in 46 at-bats against left-handed pitching, was not in the Royals lineup. Yuniesky Betancourt made his second career start at third base. Moustakas entered in the eighth as a defensive replacement and singled in his only at-bat. ...The A's nine runs Saturday were their second highest total of the season. They scored 11 runs May 11 against Detroit. ... Gordon extended his hitting streak to seven games with a double to lead off the Royals' third.

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