1 Total Update since September 14, 2010
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Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) - Wilson Betemit hit a two-run homer and drove in a total of four runs, as the Kansas City Royals dominated the Oakland Athletics, 11-3, in the second test of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
Mike Aviles hit a three-run homer and scored three runs for the Royals, who had lost six of seven coming in. Kila Ka'aihue belted a two-run homer and knocked in a total of three runs.
Zack Greinke (9-12) was the beneficiary of the run support, giving up three runs on six hits over seven innings. The 2009 AL Cy Young Award recipient won for the first time since August 17.
Akinori Iwamura, Jack Cust, and Landon Powell each had an RBI for the Athletics, who had won four of five. Gio Gonzalez (14-9), riding a four-start win streak, allowed seven runs on seven hits over two-plus frames.
After Oakland stranded the bases loaded in the top of the first, the Royals scored three times in the home half. Aviles worked a one-out walk, stole second, and raced home on Betemit's single. Ka'aihue followed with a two-run homer.
Kansas City scored three more runs off Gonzalez in the second to make it a 6-0 game. With two outs, Gregor Blanco walked and Aviles singled. Billy Butler, Betemit, and Ka'aihue followed with three straight RBI singles.
The Royals turned the game into a rout with a five-run third. Alex Gordon walked, chasing Gonzalez from the game. Boof Bonser took over on the mound and retired the first two batters he faced. Blanco walked before Aviles hit a three-run homer. Butler then singled in front of Betemit's homer, which made it 11-0.
Oakland finally got to Greinke in the sixth. With men on first and second and no outs, Powell and Cust hit back-to-back RBI singles. With the bases loaded and one out, Iwamura's grounder plated a run.
The A's did not advance a runner past first base the rest of the way.
The A's were without third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff (back spasms)...Kansas City was without second baseman Chris Getz (mild concussion)...Oakland had beat the Royals five straight times in KC...Oakland recalled pitcher Vin Mazzaro, catcher Josh Donaldson and infielder Chris Carter from Triple-A Sacramento. The A's also selected the contract of infielder Eric Sogard from Sacramento and designated infielder Jeff Lyman for assignment...Oakland's Mark Ellis saw a 13-game hitting streak come to an end...Greinke improved to 5-1 lifetime against the Athletics.
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Oakland posted a 3-1 victory in Monday's opener of this set, the Athletics' fifth in a row in Kansas City and 12th in 15 overall meetings between the clubs since the start of the 2009 season. The A's swept a three-game series in Kauffman Stadium back in July and are now 6-1 against the Royals this season.
The Athletics have also won four of their last five contests and prevailed yesterday behind an outstanding major league debut from pitcher Bobby Cramer. The 30-year-old journeyman, who had spent most of this season pitching in the Mexican League, held Kansas City to one run on four hits and a walk over the game's first 5 1/3 innings.
"Just getting here was amazing in itself, but now that I'm here I want to pitch well," Cramer said afterward. "I want to show everybody who I think I can be up here. Going out and giving up a run today, giving us a chance to win is going to take a good step in that direction."
Oakland's bullpen helped Cramer get his first big-league win, with five relievers combining to keep the Royals scoreless over the final 3 2/3 frames. Andrew Bailey allowed a couple of baserunners in the ninth, but quickly ended the threat to notch his 24th save of the season.
The A's mustered only four hits on the afternoon, one being a solo homer from Jack Cust, but took advantage of three Kansas City errors to score two unearned runs.
Luke Hochevar (5-5) was victimized by his team's poor defense, with the Royals starter pinned with the loss after surrendering two runs -- both unearned -- on just two hits in five innings of work.
"I didn't feel like my command was sharp," said Hochevar, who walked three and threw just 39-of-78 pitches for strikes. "Too many three-ball counts. I put myself in those situations where runs are scored."
Mike Aviles paced the Royals offensively by going 3-for-4 and belting a solo homer off Cramer in the fourth inning.
Kansas City has now lost nine of its last 12 outings and figures to draw a tough task again tonight, with the Athletics set to send Gio Gonzalez to the mound. The young lefty will be seeking his 15th victory of the season and has come away with a win in each of his last four trips to the hill.
Gonzalez extended his winning run by firing a sharp 6 2/3 innings to best Seattle last Wednesday, permitting three runs and striking out nine Mariners in his team's 4-3 verdict. The 24-year-old has yielded two runs or fewer in four of his last five starts and registered a stellar 1.65 earned run average over that span, with Oakland coming out on top in every one of those games.
The Florida native also pitched well in a July 16 clash with the Royals at Kauffman Stadium on July 16, giving up just one run over seven innings to earn another win. Gonzalez is 1-1 with a 4.96 ERA in three lifetime starts against Kansas City.
While Gonzalez has been unbeatable as of late, the Royals' Zack Greinke enters tonight's assignment on a four-start winless streak. The 2009 AL Cy Young Award recipient had registered three straight no-decisions before coming out on the wrong end of a 4-3 decision at Minnesota last Tuesday.
Greinke did throw an eight-inning complete game and allowed just five hits against the Twins, the third time in four starts he's lasted eight frames. The right-hander has put together a respectable 3.90 ERA for the season, but has only an 8-12 record to show for it.
The 26-year-old does own a 4-1 mark along with a 2.89 ERA in 12 career games (eight starts) against the Athletics, but that lone blemish came in that head- to-head meeting with Gonzalez in Kansas City on July 16. Greinke was reached for five runs in six innings that night, but only two were earned and he limited Oakland to four hits.