The Kansas City Royals received a strong start from Ervin Santana and provided just enough offense, winning 4-3 against the Oakland Athletics.
The Royals scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning. With the game tied 3-3, Athletics reliever Ryan Cook retired the first two hitters of the inning, then forced a ground ball from Miguel Tejada for what should have been the third out of the inning. Adam Rosales booted the ball, giving the Royals an extra out to take advantage of.
Mike Moustakas and Elliot Johnson followed with walks against Cook, loading the bases for Jarrod Dyson. Dyson slapped a groundball up the middle, and it bounced over the pitcher. Rosales fielded the ball, but had no chance to throw out the speedy Dyson or Johnson at second. Alex Gordon struck out to end the inning, but Kansas City had gained their first lead of the game.
The Athletics scored first in the top of the second inning. Josh Donaldson drew a one out walk against Ervin Santana, then Seth Smith slapped a single to right. Josh Reddick followed with another single, driving in Donaldson and advancing Smith to third on an error by Dyson.
Rosales then hit a groundball to third base, and Smith tried to score on the play. The Royals infield was playing in, and Moustakas easily threw out Smith at home. Eric Sogard hit a groundout to second to end the inning.
Oakland added to their lead in the third inning. John Jaso hit a one-out single, and Yoenis Cespedes followed with a walk. Santana forced Brandon Moss to strike-out swinging, but then allowed a single to Donaldson, driving in Jaso. Smith hit a flyout to close out the frame.
The Royals scored their first run in the bottom half of the third. Dyson hit a leadoff single, and Gordon drew a walk, putting two on with nobody out. Eric Hosmer hit a flyout for the first out, bringing Billy Butler to the plate.
During Butler's at-bat, Jarrod Parker attempted to pick off Dyson at second, but threw the ball to centerfield, allowing Dyson and Gordon to advance one base apiece. That proved to be crucial, as Butler hit a groundball to Donaldson that would have likely been a double play, buy Dyson ended up scoring. Salvador Perez ended the inning with a flyout.
Moustakas tied the game in the bottom of the fourth inning with a two-out solo home run. Parker had Moustakas down 1-2, but left a breaking ball (I believe a changeup) over the middle of the plate around belt-high. Moose yanked the pitch over the rightfield bullpen for his sixth homer of the season.
The Athletics regained the lead on a Donaldson solo homer in the sixth. Donaldson deposited a 0-1 fastball that badly missed its spot over the leftfield bullpen for his second RBI of the game.
Santana ended up pitching seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits. The starter struck out five Athletics but walked three. It was a quality start for Santana, one that I will take every time.
The Royals tied the game for a second time in the bottom of the seventh inning. Johnson hit a one-out single, then Dyson and Gordon drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Parker issed the walk to Dyson, while reliever Jerry Blevins walked Gordon. Hosmer followed with a sacrifice fly to center, easily driving in Johnson.
Dyson and Gordon pulled off a double steal, putting two runners in scoring position for Butler. Butler hit a solid drive off Cook, but right at Reddick to end the inning.
Parker finished the day allowing three runs on five hits, striking out four while walking three. It was a solid start for Parker, especially coming off some hamstring issues.
Dyson finished the day 3-for-3 with a walk, while Gordon drew three walks against Oakland pitching. Moustakas and Johnson both went 1-for-3 with a walk, while Tejada had the only other Royals' hit.
Aaron Crow allowed a single to Cespedes, but retired the next three batters to pitch a scoreless eighth. Greg Holland continued his dominance, striking out the side in the ninth inning to close out the game. Holland has fanned 44% of the batters he has faced this season, which is just ridiculous.
The Royals improved to 41-43 with their first victory against the Athletics in five tries. Kansas City will attempt to win the series tomorrow afternoon when Luis Mendoza takes on A.J. Griffin.