Resourceful Royals edge A's for series win
OAKLAND -- Right-hander Chris Young threw six strong innings and Kendrys Morales delivered a two-run go-ahead single in the sixth inning, and the Royals held off the A's, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon.
The Royals moved to a season-high 15 games over .500 and have a 4 1/2-game lead in the Central.
Young gave up four hits and just one earned run. He walked one and struck out four,improving his record to 7-3.
Left-hander Scott Kazmir pitched seven solid innings for the A's, giving up seven hits and three runs while striking out six.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The double steal: There has been much conversation this season about the Royals not running enough -- it's true partly because they haven't had to. But they still have that speed element as a weapon and showed it in the sixth inning. With Lorenzo Cain on second and Eric Hosmer on first, manager Ned Yost sent the runners and the throw to second was late -- double steal. Morales promptly dropped a soft liner into right field for a two-run single and the Royals had a 3-2 lead.
"We felt that would be a good time to take a gamble," Yost said. "That was big. And just as big was Morales coming through with the big hit.
"We just try to win ballgames. Sometimes that means taking chances. When it works out, it's that much sweeter."
Two gifts: The A's scored both of their runs thanks in part to errors from the Royals. In the first, Sam Fuld doubled, stole third and scored on a throwing error from Young. Then in the fifth, Royals' shortstop Alcides Escobar threw the ball away on a routine grounder, which brought Eric Sogard home from second.
"It's obviously more instinct than anything," Fuld said of his steal. "I saw Moustakas off just enough, and I felt like I had a good jump." More >
Houdini act for Royals' Wade Davis: Davis, who came into the game having given up just one run in 31 innings, walked the first two hitters in the eighth. He then ran the count to 3-0 to Stephen Vogt before coming back to strike him out on a 3-2 cutter over the outside corner. Davis then got Ben Zobrist to hit into a 1-6-3 double play. More >
Said Yost, "Once he got that 3-0 pitch over for a strike [to Vogt], I thought, 'This inning is over.'"
"I definitely felt more confident," Davis said. "It was the first pitch I really got [my body] behind and had a good delivery."
Not his best, not his worst: Kazmir entered the game having allowed just three combined earned runs in his last three starts. On Saturday, he surrendered three earned runs on seven hits in seven innings. The left-hander hurt his own cause by balking in the third, which led to a Mike Moustakas sacrifice fly. He gave up a two-run single to Morales in the sixth, finishing the day at 102 pitches. More >
Royals: Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (5-5, 5.90 ERA) takes the hill in the series finale at 3:05 p.m. CT. Guthrie is a fan of the Coliseum, where he has held opponents to a .234 batting average in his career. Last Aug. 1, Guthrie threw six shutout innings in a 1-0 win that was a key game in the Royals' surge toward a playoff spot -- it keyed a 5-1 road trip and a 13-of-15 victory stretch.
Athletics: Jesse Chavez (4-6, 2.90) will start for the A's in the 1:05 p.m. PT finale. The right-hander is looking for a career-high third straight win and is 3-2 with a 2.93 ERA over his last six starts. He still has the fifth lowest run support (3.12) in the American League, but has received more help from the A's bats of late.
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