OAKLAND— It seemed like just another day at the ballpark lately for Royals closer Joakim Soria, as he set down the A's 1-2-3 to end Wednesday afternoon's game in Oakland. Soria wrapped up a 4-3 Royals' victory while collecting his 30th save of the year and third straight in the Royals three-game sweep of the A's.
The Royals won their fourth straight game by getting more solid pitching from both their starter and their relievers and getting their runs when they needed to—funny how that works.
Royals second-year right-hander Brian Bannister took the mound in hopes to regain his form that made him 3-0 with an under 1.00 ERA in his first three games.
Bannister pitched well, giving up just two runs in five innings of work, though he had to tightrope his way out of danger many times.
Due to some shoddy defense and a couple of soft hits, the A's took an early 2-0 lead on KC after the second inning.
The Royals answered in the top of the third. With one out in the inning, following a lead-off double by catcher Miguel Olivo and a strikeout of Tony Pena Jr., rookie shortstop Mike Aviles blasted a double of his own into the left-center field gap, cutting the A's lead in half.
Rookie outfielder Mitch Maier followed Aviles with a single to right, tying the game at two apiece. The RBI was the first of Maier's career.
A key inning for Bannister and the Royals was the bottom of the fifth, when Oakland loaded the bases with two outs following a walk to Jack Cust, a single by Mark Ellis, and another walk to Bobby Crosby.
Bannister, approaching 100 pitches at the time, didn't give in.
Attacking Oakland's rookie first baseman Wes Bankston, Bannister induced a fly out, ending both the A's possible rally and Bannister's day on the mound.
When it was all set and done for Bannister on the mound, he had surrendered eight hits and had given up four walks, but kept his team in the game by limiting the A's to just those two runs.
The Royals took that momentum into their half of the sixth inning, when they tallied again when outfielder Jose Guillen, following a Maier single and walk to Alex Gordon, punched a single up the middle to put the Royals ahead for the first time all game.
Oakland retaliated in the bottom of the seventh inning when shortstop Bobby Crosby singled home former Royal Emil Brown to tie the game at three.
The game couldn't be decided through nine innings, so the Royals figured the 10th would be a good inning to end it.
Against A's closer Huston Street, pinch-hitter Esteban German led off the inning with a walk and after Aviles couldn't get down a bunt, he made up for it by cranking another double, this one into right-center field, sending German to third.
After a weak pop-up in foul territory by Maier, the A's decided to once again walk Gordon to get to Guillen. In five plate appearances, Gordon was 0-for-0 with five walks, two of which were intentional.
Guillen didn't take the second intentional walk lightly, as he hit a line shot into deep left-center field for a sacrifice fly, scoring German and giving the Royals a 4-3 lead, a lead much too big for the Mexicutioner to give up.
Ramon Ramirez earned the win for the Royals, improving to 2-1, while Street took the loss, dropping his record to 2-4.
The Royals, 50-59, look to continue this spell of both good pitching and hitting when they return home for a long home-stand, beginning with a three-game series against the White Sox on Friday night. Young righty Luke Hochevar, 6-8, 5.38 ERA, will oppose Chicago's Javier Vazquez who is 7-9 with a 4.73 ERA.
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