OAKLAND -- Kansas City Royals starter Ervin Santana was his usual effective self against the Oakland A's on Saturday night, but one night after James Shields had an equally strong outing at the Oakland Coliseum and lost, Santana did the same.
Santana entered the evening with a lifetime 14-5 record and 2.03 ERA against the A's, but Oakland scrapped together just enough offense to beat the Royals 2-1, the same score of Shields' complete-game loss the night before.
Santana was going for career win No. 100, but he again was let down by lack of run support. In his eight starts this season, Kansas City and its opponents have scored a grand total of 43 runs. Santana's run support of 3.09 per game is among the worst in the league.
Kansas City took the early lead on a two-out double by Alex Gordon and an RBI bloop single by Billy Butler in the first inning, but the Royals couldn't collect more against A's starter Tommy Milone despite his troubles allowing base runners. He gave up five hits and walked three in six innings. The Royals were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position against him.
Oakland recorded just two hits in the first five innings -- and on one of them, Eric Sogard was thrown out by Lorenzo Cain while trying to stretch a single into a double in the third inning.
In the sixth, however, Sogard hit a for-sure double to right-center and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Santana walked Coco Crisp, and Jed Lowrie sent in Sogard with a sacrifice fly to center.
With two outs, Brandon Moss ripped a triple to dead center, easily scoring Crisp with the go-ahead run.
Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour finished up for Oakland. Balfour has converted 26 consecutive save opportunities, one behind Andrew Bailey for the second spot on Oakland's all-time list. Dennis Eckersley saved 40 in a row from Sept. 15, 1991-Aug. 7, 1992.
The Royals' lone run on Friday night had come on a bloop single, and with two outs in the first inning on Saturday, Butler followed Gordon's double to left with a bloop that just eluded first baseman Moss and brought home Gordon.
Salvador Perez opened the next inning with a soft single to shallow center, just over the heads of shortstop Lowrie and second baseman Sogard. Then Milone walked Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur to load the bases with no outs.
Milone got No. 9 hitter Elliot Johnson to foul out to first, and he struck out Cain and Alcides Escobar to end the inning. But Milone threw 37 pitches in the inning.
Milone also allowed the leadoff man to reach in each of the next two innings -- including Perez's double in the fourth -- but also got out of those innings without trouble.
Josh Donaldson's one-out double in the second off Santana extended Donaldson's hitting streak to a career-high seven games. Donaldson entered the game 11-for-23 in the first six games of the streak.
Perez extended his hitting streak to nine games; he entered the night 12-for-32 in the first eight games of the streak.
NOTES: The A's activated Chris Young from the disabled list. Young, who missed 18 days with a left quad strain, was in right field on Saturday. ... To clear a roster spot for Young, Oakland designated 1B Daric Barton for assignment. Barton, who hit .143 with a homer and three RBI in eight games with the A's, cleared waivers earlier this year when he was demoted before Opening Day. ... With the A's using a left-handed starter, Milone, the Royals had Cain leading off and David Lough, who had a nice season debut the night before, was not in the lineup. ... A's bench coach Chip Hale was away at his son Eddie's high-school graduation, so bullpen coach Darren Bush served as bench coach and roving minor-league pitching instructor Scott Emerson worked as the bullpen coach.