First things first: If the Royals had won tonight, they'd have been 12 games over .500. As anyone who remembers 18 - 11 (the last time the Royals were 12 games over .500, of course) can tell you, you're flying too close to the sun at a dozen games over .500.
Having gotten that out of the way, despite a valiant rallying effort, the Royals came up short against Jon Lester and the Oak Land Athletics.
The Oak Landers jumped all over Jeremy Guthrie tonight. Guthrie failed to make it out of the fifth inning this evening. Balls fell in play. Balls fell in play. Balls. Play. Ballplay. Regression is a fickle mistress, but tonight she was a pernicious bitch, at least if your name was Jeremy Guthrie. The A's scattered hits and plated runs in the first, third, fourth, and fifth innings against the
Stormin' Partly Cloudy Mormon. By the time Ned was motioning to the bullpen with his right arm, the A's were up 6 - 0.
The Royals rallied for three runs in a long bottom of the fifth for Jon Lester, but Josh Donaldson answered with a dong hanging of the solitary variety off of soft-tosser Bruce Chen in the seventh to add another run of insurance for the A's. Chen allowed four more runs in the eighth--the last two coming by way of Josh Donaldson's second hanging of dong tonight--pushing the score to 11 - 3 and putting the nail in the coffin for the hometown boys tonight.
The Royals ended up running Lester after six innings, but the A's bullpen has the second-lowest ERA in the American League and elected not to regress to the mean tonight.
Offensively, only Norichika Aoki and Salvador Perez reached base multiple times with Aoki singling twice and Perez doubling and drawing a walk. Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Josh Willingham, Mike Moustakas, and Lorenzo Cain each reached once, with Willingham (in his first plate appearance as a Royal) and Cain doubling, Moustakas walking, and the rest singling.
Luckily for your first place Royals, the Tigers continued their tailspin, dropping their seventh in their last nine contests. While opening up a wider lead would have been preferable to losing to the A's, a loss given the pitching match-up tonight and a corresponding loss by the Tigers was probably the most likely positive outcome this evening.