KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Vin Mazzaro was happy to finally get a victory again.
Mazzaro picked up his first victory since June 7- ending an eight-game losing skid -- and Cliff Pennington had his first career three-hit game as the Oakland Athletics defeated the Kansas City Royals 9-4 on Friday night."It's a good feeling," Mazzaro said. "I almost forget what it feels like to win. It's awesome."Mazzaro (3-8), who had a 7.72 earned run average in nine starts since his previous win, gave up three runs and eight hits in five innings. He walked four."My confidence didn't really go down," Mazzaro said. "They're giving me an opportunity to do it here and it's awesome. I'm going to take advantage of everyday. This win definitely boosted my confidence for the next start."A's manager Bob Geren said Mazzaro threw 23 balls and 23 strikes in his first 46 pitches."He didn't throw as many strikes as he needs to throw," Geren said. "We're fortunate we got him a lot of runs and he did get a win and it helps to boost a little confidence after the streak he was on is broken. He did have real good velocity and exceptional movement, so those are positives you can take from it. Hopefully, he'll get better next time out.Pennington contributed two doubles, two RBIs and scored two runs. Scott Hairston drove in three runs, while Ryan Sweeney, who was in a 1-for-14 skid, homered in the eighth."A lot of times when a guy comes in the league, they test both sides of the plate to see what you can and can't do," Geren said. "They've been trying to pound him in and he turned on three balls down that right-field side. That's good. Teams watching will see he's getting to that pitch and try to go to the outer half. I've seen him cover the outer half in the past."The A's sent 10 men to the plate in a five-run fourth to take a 7-1 lead. The inning included a two-run Pennington double and a two-run Hairston single. Jack Cust, who led off the inning with a single, scored on a Brian Bannister wild pitch. Bannister walked Tommy Everidge and Adam Kennedy that inning and both scored. Brayan Pena was also charged with a passed ball in the fourth.Bannister (7-8) took the loss as he was charged with seven runs, matching his season high, on seven hits in four innings. In Bannister's previous outing, he threw a season-high 117 pitches in seven scoreless innings at Tampa Bay."After the last outing in Tampa I had what I call an arm hangover," Bannister said. "It was extra sore. I tried to get ready, but I honestly just didn't have it tonight. I didn't punch anybody out until that last batter and that's a sign. You can't rely on weak ground balls. You have to get the punch outs sometimes.The Royals trimmed the Oakland lead to 7-4 with single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. David DeJesus, who had three of the 14 Kansas City hits, stroked a run-producing triple in the fourth and a RBI double in the sixth. Mike Jacobs' single in the fifth scored Billy Butler, who had two hits and walked."We felt like we were right there," said Jacobs, who went 2-for-2 and walked. "We had a lot of guys on base but we didn't seem to get the big hits like we needed to. Another hit here or another hit there and it could have been a different game.The Royals threatened in the eighth with DeJesus and Josh Anderson singling, but Butler grounded into an inning ending double play."We did chip away, but we didn't continue to get the two-out hits," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "They made some good defensive plays that took two or three runs away from us, but we stopped getting the hits.The A's manufactured a run in the third, which Pennington led off with a double, advanced to third on Kennedy's sacrifice fly and scored on Rajai Davis' sacrifice fly. Everidge's single in the second scored Kurt Suzuki with the first Oakland run.Hairston's ninth inning double scored Davis for the final run.
Royals RHP Zack Greinke, who starts Saturday, has not won against an American League opponent since May 26. Although Greinke tops the American League with a 2.36 ERA, he is 0-4 since a June 28 victory at Pittsburgh. ... The A's are 22-33 on the road, the third worst mark in the AL.