Series: Game 4 of 4

Series tied 2-2 (as of 8/20)

Game 1: Friday, August 18
Kansas City7
Game 2: Friday, August 18
Kansas City5
Game 3: Saturday, August 19
Kansas City2
Game 4: Sunday, August 20
Kansas City4

Athletics 6

(70-54, 34-28 away)

Royals 4

(45-81, 28-35 home)

    2:10 PM ET, August 20, 2006

    Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    OAK 310000020 6 9 0
    KC 000101002 4 15 0

    W: K. Saarloos (6-6)

    L: R. Hernandez (3-8)

    Swisher helps Saarloos, A's sneak past Royals

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- So many hits. So few runs.

    In their most inefficient effort of what's shaping up to be a third straight 100-loss season, the Kansas City Royals collected 15 hits Sunday, including two home runs. But out of all that they managed to score only four runs.

    The surging Oakland Athletics were grateful to escape with a 6-4 victory and get out of town with a split of their four-game series.

    "How many double plays did they turn?" Royals manager Buddy Bell asked with a shake of his head.

    Three, he was told.

    "It seemed like we hit into one every inning."

    Nick Swisher had a two-run homer and Jay Payton a two-run double for the A's, who have won eight of their last 10 games to stay atop the AL West. Their August record of 14-4 is second-best in the majors behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    But it was a bad day for the A's in one important sense. Earlier Sunday, they put closer Huston Street on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin muscle he sustained while pitching on Friday night. Huston, whose 29 saves were sixth in the AL, was scheduled for an MRI on Monday.

    "He's a big part of our team," said Justin Duchscherer, who pitched the ninth and gave up Mark Grudzielanek's inside-the-park home run. "We're going to miss him. But we can't do anything about it but go out there and do the best we can when we have to pitch."

    It's the 14th time the A's have used the disabled list this year, their most since they also used it 14 times in 1998.

    "It's nice to go out there with all our weapons. We haven't had that all season," said manager Ken Macha.

    Kirk Saarloos (6-6) survived six shaky innings for his third straight victory. He gave up nine singles, a double and Reggie Sanders' solo home run. He also had 12 groundball outs.

    "When that ball's down and sinking good, they hit it into the ground," said Macha.

    In a day of frustration for the Royals, Saarloos' last inning was easily the most exasperating of all.

    After Mark Teahen led off with a single and Emil Brown grounded into a double play, Sanders, Ryan Shealy, Paul Bako and Joey Gathright all had solid singles. Sanders scored on Bako's hit, but then Bako was caught between second and third following Gathright's single and became an easy putout.

    "Five hits in one inning and they only get one run," said Macha. "A little bit of a baserunning mistake wound up being key there."

    Andres Blanco and David DeJesus then singled leading off the seventh against reliever Joe Kennedy. But Grudzielanek grounded into the Royals' third double play in three innings and Teahen hit a weak grounder to second, leaving the Royals with only one run despite getting six straight singles.

    "We had them against the ropes a few times but the double plays killed us. Absolutely killed us," said Grudzielanek, whose inside-the-parker was his first and No. 90 in the Royals 37-year history.

    "We had a ground ball pitcher. We were probably a little overly aggressive with him. We should have been a little more selective."

    Runelvys Hernandez (3-8) went 4 2/3 innings and was charged with four runs and four hits. He walked four and struck out two.

    The A's loaded the bases in the first and got a sacrifice fly from Eric Chavez before Payton's two-run double. Mark Kotsay's sacrifice fly made it 4-0 in the third.

    Grudzielanek's ball sliced away from Bradley and then kept rolling along the wall away from him.

    Was Grudzielanek thinking home run?

    "With my wheels right now, the way I feel? No," he said.

    Game notes

    Royals DH Mike Sweeney was out of the lineup after hurting his knee sliding into second base on Friday. Manager Buddy Bell said it was not thought that Sweeney would go on the DL. SS Angel Berroa was also held out with a sore back. ... After placing Street on the 15-day DL with a strained groin muscle the A's brought up LHP Ron Flores from Triple-A Sacramento. ... The A's are 25-11 since the All-Star break.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press