The Athletics had a 4-3 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but Zito allowed two hits with two outs. Chad Bradford relieved him and gave up a tying single to Joe Randa.
"It's frustrating to not get the win,'' Zito said. "But if I do my job and hold them down like I should, it would be 6-0 or 6-1.''
Bradford (3-3) then retired Mike Sweeney for the final out and picked up the victory when Oakland scored twice in the eighth.
"I hate it for Zito,'' Bradford said. "I tried to go away to Randa and it came back over the plate. He was able to slap it out there to right.
"That really wasn't a good pitch. If that pitch was down and away where it should be, it's a groundball and we're out of the inning.''
The A's won three of four in the series. In the past four seasons, Oakland is 33-13 against the Royals, including 14-3 at Kansas City.
"When everything is going wrong, you see a little thing like
that ball going through the hole (in the eighth),'' Kansas City
manager Tony Pena said. "(Hernandez) didn't hit the ball that
hard, but he hit it in the right spot.
"Everyone on the ballclub is trying to do too much. We want to
do everything perfect and we end up making mistakes.''
"It was nice to get it out of the way and get a run on the
board pretty quick,'' Byrnes said. "Each at-bat is its own game.''
It was 4-all when Erubiel Durazo led off the A's eighth with a
double against Rick DeHart (0-1) and moved to third on a flyout.
After Chavez grounded out, Jason Grimsley relieved. Hernandez
rolled a single to right field for the go-ahead run and, after a walk, Long singled.
Keith Foulke pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 16 chances.
The Royals roughed up Zito in the first inning. He got only one
out while giving up three hits and three runs, then retired 19 of
the next 21 batters.
Zito set down 12 in a row before Mike DiFelice hit a two-out
single in the seventh. Desi Relaford followed with a single,
chasing Zito, and Bradford gave up Randa's tying single.
"I needed to fire myself up a bit,'' Zito said. "I gave up
some hits, but luckily we were able to battle back.
"I had 111 pitches, so I definitely agree with the move.
Bradford is going to get the job done nearly every time out.''
Byrnes hit his second leadoff home run of the season. ...
Royals RF Michael Tucker threw a runner out at the plate for the
second game in a row. He nailed Byrnes trying to score from second
on a single by Scott Hatteberg. ... Grimsley made his 31st
appearance of the season, the most in the American League. ...
Randa had been hitting just .129 (12-for-93) since May 2 before his