OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Kansas City manager Buddy Bell figures so many things went against his team during its 19-game losing streak that it was about time the Royals had some good fortune.
"We had some help but we'll take it," Bell said after the Royals won their second straight game, with Emil Brown hitting a go-ahead single in the 12th inning Sunday for a 5-4 win over the
Oakland Athletics."We had that ball lost in the sun and I've seen that a trillion times. The sky affects so many games here," he said.After overcoming a 1-0 deficit in Saturday night's 2-1 win, the Royals came back from three runs down in the eighth inning Sunday and won consecutive games for the first time since July 26-27 against the Chicago White Sox.It was the fourth time Oakland has blown a three-run lead and the first since May 24."It's unbelievable, isn't it?" Bell said. "We won two in a row from a team that has been playing pretty good."Oakland went 4-8 on a homestand that saw the Los Angeles Angels
move past the A's into the AL West lead. The Athletics, who had been 5-0 at home in extra innings, lead the wild-card race by a half-game over the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees.Denny Hocking reached against Kiko Calero (2-1) with an infield single opening the 12th, took second on Mike Sweeney's single and third on Joe McEwing's sacrifice. Brown then singled to right against a drawn-in infield."You can't plan on hitting the ball soft," Brown said. "He threw it soft, so I hit it soft. They were catching the hard ones anyway."Jimmy Gobble (1-0) pitched three hitless innings, knowing he was likely the Royals' last option. He struck out Eric Chavez to open the 10th and retired all nine hitters he faced for his first victory since last Sept. 24."I tried not to think that and just come in and throw strikes," he said. "That strikeout of Chavez got it rolling."A's starter Joe Blanton allowed five hits in seven innings, extending his scoreless streak against the Royals to 13 innings.Jay Witasick allowed all three batters he faced to reach opening the eighth. He walked Chip Ambres, Hocking got on because of Chavez's throwing error and Sweeney was hit on the right thumb by a pitch."A lot of things happened over the past two games," Witasick said. "You don't worry. The pitch quality is there but the results aren't."Joe Kennedy relieved, and Matt Stairs hit a two-run double on a drive to center that Mark Kotsay appeared to lose in the sun as it bounced on the warning track and over the fence. Brown hit a run-scoring infield groundout and Terrence Long followed with a sacrifice fly."This is the toughest sun field in the big leagues; it's no secret," Kotsay said. "I never had a chance to set up. The ball never came out of the sun."Jay Payton's two-out single in the bottom half tied the score at 4, Mike MacDougal's third blown save in 19 chances.Royals starter Runelvys Hernandez left after two innings with tightness in his lower back. He tried warming up for the third but Bell replaced him after conferring with Hernandez and trainer Frank
Kyte."I was feeling good during long toss but when I got to the bullpen it got a little tight," Hernandez said. "I didn't want to come out but they explained they don't want anything to happen to me. I appreciate that."Oakland took a 3-0 lead in the sixth against Shawn Camp on Bobby Crosby's RBI single, Dan Johnson's sacrifice fly and Payton's RBI grounder.
Hocking made his second start since joining the Royals on Aug. 6. ... During pregame drills, A's players wore backpacks featuring the likeness of Crosby. The backpacks were part of a fan promotion. ... Chavez was to return home after the game to be with his wife, Alex, for the birth of their first child. ... Blanton has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last six starts. ... MacDougal had his career-high streak of 15 consecutive saves snapped.