Hudson shuts down A's; Royals win doubleheader opener

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Top teams keep stumbling against the Kansas City Royals.

Luke Hudson stymied Oakland on five hits in seven innings, leading the Royals to a 7-1 victory in a doubleheader opener Friday night that sent the AL West-leading Athletics to just their second loss in 14 games.

"I don't know what it is," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "I don't think we play any different."

Hudson (6-4) combined with Jimmy Gobble and Joel Peralta on a six-hitter. The A's, who began the day with a six-game division lead, had won six straight overall and 17 of 20 coming in, and they had won 12 in a row at Kansas City since May 30, 2003, outscoring the Royals 95-30 in that span.

Ryan Shealy had three hits and two RBI for Kansas City, which swept a three-game series at home against the Boston Red Sox from Aug. 8-10. The Royals, who had 15 hits, have the worst record in the major leagues at 44-79.

"At the point we're at, we don't consider anybody a bad team," Bell said.

In his previous start last Sunday in Cleveland, Hudson gave up 11 runs -- 10 earned -- in one-third of an inning, allowing the first 10 batters to reach base. He gave up hits to two of Oakland's first three batters before settling down.

"It was so bad last time I had to take some jokes and laugh about it," Hudson said. "I just had to let it go. I'm not going to let that get me. They told me that the last time it happened was a century ago.

"My four-seam command was a lot better today. I threw a lot more four-seam fastballs than I have been throwing. I was able to get it in and out of the zone and keep it down," he said.

Bell was pleased to see the turnaround.

"At no time did I think it was going to be a repeat," he said. "The kid has pitched too well since he's been here. We all deserve a mulligan every once in a while."

Oakland manager Ken Macha was not surprised by Hudson's performance either.

"Previous performance has no bearing on what happens that day," he said. "You make good pitches you get 'em out. He made good pitches today."

Joe Blanton (13-10) gave up two runs and eight hits in six innings. While he didn't walk any batters, he hit two with pitches.

Kansas City took a 2-1 lead in the sixth on Joey Gathright's
sacrifice fly, which followed Emil Brown's leadoff single, a single by Shealy on a liner in front of left fielder Jay Payton, Paul Bako's sacrifice and a hit by pitch against Angel Berroa.

Berroa crumpled to the ground after he was hit on the left shoulder and was taken to a hospital for X-rays.

Shealy added a two-run single in the seventh off Kiko Calero, Andres Blanco singled in a run off Scott Sauerbeck and Gathright had an RBI infield single. Brown added an RBI infield single in the eighth against Jay Witasick.

Milton Bradley put Oakland ahead in the first with an RBI single, but Mike Sweeney hit a run-scoring double in the third.

Game notes
Oakland played its first doubleheader since June 8, 2003, when it was swept at Philadelphia. The A's have not swept a twinbill since Aug. 22, 1998, against Detroit. ... Kansas City played its 200th doubleheader, its second in seven days. ... David DeJesus was hit by a pitch leading off the first inning. It was the 10th time this season he has been hit, which tied him for fourth in the AL. ... Kansas City was 5-for-17 with runners in scoring position after going 7-for-40 in its previous four games.