Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) – Coco Crisp, Andy LaRoche and Kevin Kouzmanoff each drove in the run as the Oakland Athletics held on to defeat the Kansas City Royals, 3-2, to open a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium. Gio Gonzalez (4-2) was stellar in a seven-inning start for the Athletics, who have won six of their last nine contests. The lefty allowed two runs on four hits while striking out six batters.
Alex Gordon had a solo home run for the Royals, who have dropped two of their last three games. Sean O’Sullivan (1-2) was the hard-luck loser, allowing three runs on five hits in eight innings.
The Royals welcomed super prospect Eric Hosmer to the lineup for the first time. The Florida native was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts but walked twice and had a steal.
“I was a little excited,” Hosmer said of his debut. “It was normal for anybody on their debut, but seeing all those people out there, it was an unbelievable feeling. I’m glad I can get my feet wet and move on from the first day and start helping this team win games.”
After failing to score in the first four innings, the A’s started to solve O’Sullivan. Kurt Suzuki singled to lead off the fifth and scored on a LaRoche single. The bases were then loaded with no outs after Mark Ellis singled into left. Oakland took advantage of the situation and grabbed a 3-2 lead on back-to-back RBI groundouts by Kouzmanoff and Crisp.
“I don’t know what it was,” LaRoche said of the three-run inning. “He (O’Sullivan) pitched a great game. That one inning was big for us. Obviously, you’d like your hits to come in bunches.”
After allowing a run in the third, Gonzalez twirled four shutout innings, and Grant Balfour came into the eighth to put another egg on Kansas City’s side of the scoreboard. Brian Fuentes, though, came into the ninth and made things interesting. He got two quick outs, but Wilson Betemit singled and pinch runner Jarrod Dyson stole second to put the tying run in scoring position. Matt Treanor then ended the game with a groundout to third.
During the close play, Treanor collided with first baseman Conor Jackson, who laid on the ground in pain after the game.
Gordon drew blood first for the Royals in the opening frame with a solo shot that went into the left-field seats. Hosmer found himself down 1-2 during his much-anticipated first at-bat, but worked the count for a walk. Betemit, though, hit into the double play to end the second inning.
During the third, KC tacked on another run on Mike Aviles’s RBI triple that one-bounced off the right field wall. Hosmer walked again in the fourth and stole second for his first steal, but was left on base following Betemit’s strikeout.
Hosmer, a first baseman, had been hitting .439 with three homers and 15 RBI in 26 games at Triple-A Omaha. To make room for him the Royals optioned Kila Ka’aihue, who had been batting a mere .195…Oakland won six of its nine meetings with the Royals last season…Kansas City was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position…It was Fuentes’ eighth save of the season.