OAKLAND -- In a game as close as the A's 3-2 win against the Royals on Sunday at the Coliseum, every inch matters.
Billy Burns' eighth-inning leadoff triple down the right-field line off reliever Joakim Soria was fair by an inch. First baseman Eric Hosmer was already hugging the line to protect against an extra-base hit, and he dove and barely missed it.
"Really, it was about this close from being foul," Burns said after the game, holding up his thumb and index finger.
"And that close from being caught."
He raised his fingers again.
"So I was really lucky to get it by him."
Lucky to get it by Hosmer? Maybe.
"They have one of the best first baseman in baseball," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. Burns "got it just enough inside the line and hit it just hard enough to get by him. … It was definitely the key to the inning."
It was indeed important because it set up Josh Reddick two batters later. His sacrifice fly to center field scored Burns for the go-ahead run, his ninth RBI in his last nine games.
The A's got to one of the most best bullpens in baseball, and after dropping the opener, won the series, 2-1, against the defending World Series champions.
"Not surprised, very impressed," said Oakland reliever Ryan Madson, who picked up the save in the ninth. "Billy goes out there and gets that leadoff triple. That's the way he plays. That's the type of players we have. Good lineup. Anybody can beat you at any time in our lineup. That's the fun part. That's what makes it tough for other bullpens late in the game."