Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) - Kevin Kouzmanoff drove in two runs and Gio Gonzalez tossed seven innings of one-run ball, as the Oakland Athletics handled the Kansas City Royals, 5-1, in the opener of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
"It's a good start for Oakland," Gonzalez said. "It shows that we're coming out swinging and we're flashing our leather a little bit. Just all around, it was a great day for the Athletics."
Alberto Callaspo had two hits for the Royals, who have lost four straight contests.
Zack Greinke (5-9) allowed five runs -- two earned -- on four hits in six innings to take the loss. He also walked four and struck out three. The 2009 AL Cy Young Award recipient had gone 4-0 with a 3.00 earned run average over his previous five starts. He had also lasted at least seven innings in each of those games.
"I walked four guys. I got 3-0 on probably at least three guys and couldn't even throw to bases, so obviously command wasn't very good," Greinke said.
The A's went ahead in the top of the first on Cust's sacrifice fly. Kansas City, though, got the run back in the home half. With runners on the corners and nobody out, David DeJesus plated a run when he grounded into a double play.
Oakland scored a run in the second to take a 2-1 lead. Kouzmanoff got things started with a double. Ellis then reached first on Greinke's throwing error, which allowed Kouzmanoff to score.
The Athletics opened things up with a three-run third. Cliff Pennington walked, Coco Crisp reached base on Yuniesky Betancourt's fielding error, and Kurt Suzuki walked to load the bases one out. After Cust popped out, Kouzmanoff hit a two-run single to center. Ellis followed with an RBI base hit for a 5-1 advantage.
The Royals failed to score after loading the bases in the fourth. Billy Butler singled, Jose Guillen walked and Callaspo singled to load the bases with nobody out. Gonzalez, though, settled down and retired the next three batters in order to keep it a four-run game.
Kansas City never threatened the rest of the way.
Oakland won six of eight bouts with Kansas City last season, including two of three games held at Kauffman Stadium...The A's were without outfielder Ryan Sweeney (right knee)...The Royals started a six-game homestand on Friday...Greinke fell to 4-1 lifetime against Oakland.