OAKLAND, Calif. -- Don't ask Kansas City's Alex Gordon to explain his recent power surge. Even he is at a loss for a reason.
Gordon hit his third home run in five games and scored the game-winning run on Gregor Blanco's groundout in the ninth inning in the Royals' 3-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night."I'm not really trying to [hit home runs]," said Gordon, who was recalled from the minors July 23. "[Hitting coach Kevin] Seitzer's just got my approach right and has me doing the things I need to be doing, and it's showing. I was hitting the ball hard but I wasn't as comfortable as I am now."He isn't the only one feeling better in Kansas City's clubhouse.Newcomers Jesse Chavez and Blanco, acquired in a trade from Atlanta just before Saturday's deadline, both came up big for the Royals.Chavez (4-2) pitched two scoreless innings for his first victory in the American League while Blanco singled and scored in the fifth before driving in Gordon with the game winner."Since we've been here, we've been hanging out more and it's kind of cool," Blanco said of he and Chavez. "I want to be capable of feeling like that with the rest of the team as quick as I can so I can be more comfortable playing."Mitch Maier and Yuniesky Betancourt added two hits apiece for the Royals, who snapped a four-game losing streak to the A's. Joakim Soria followed Chavez and worked the ninth for his 30th save in 32 chances.The Royals bounced back after getting shut out by Oakland's Trevor Cahill a day earlier and have won four of five following their five-game losing streak.Gordon hit a bouncing double past first baseman Daric Barton, who jumped in the air as the ball skipped past him into left field. Gordon was sacrificed to second, and after Betancourt was intentionally walked, Blanco hit a sharp grounder to third off Craig Breslow (4-3). Oakland's Kevin Kouzmanoff fielded the ball and threw to second baseman Mark Ellis to retire Betancourt, but Ellis was unable to make the relay throw to first as Gordon scored.Gordon's homer in the second, a solo shot to center with one out, was his fourth overall and third in five games after being recalled from the minors."Alex is playing great for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He just hammered that [home run]. He's done a nice job."Oakland scored an unearned run off Kansas City starter Kyle Davies in the fourth, although the pitcher had only himself to blame. His errant pickoff attempt allowed Rajai Davis to move from first to third with two outs. Davis then scored on Matt Watson's line single to right.The A's returned the favor in the fifth when third baseman Kouzmanoff threw wildly on Blanco's infield single. Blanco raced to third on the error and scored on Chris Getz's groundout.Oakland tied the game on Kurt Suzuki's RBI double in the fifth but got only one hit the rest of the game.The Royals ran themselves out of a potentially big inning in the seventh. Maier hit a leadoff double and took third on Betancourt's single. When Blanco attempted to bunt, Oakland catcher Suzuki fielded the ball and caught Maier in a rundown.Maier ran back to third, where Betancourt was standing, and reliever Jerry Blevins tagged Maier. Maier was called out but Oakland manager Bob Geren argued that both runners should be out. Baseball rules state the trailing runner will be called out when two players occupy the same base.Umpires ruled that Maier was not on the base when he was tagged by Blevins, and Geren was ejected after a lengthy argument with plate umpire and crew chief Gary Darling.Geren said the call was part of a bad night overall for the A's."It turned into a judgment call more than a rules call," Geren said. "It wasn't a good game overall for us, not a good offensive night for us. Tonight was very frustrating. It felt like we should have scored more runs."Davies allowed two runs with six strikeouts and five walks but left with a no-decision for the seventh time in his past 11 starts.Oakland starter Vin Mazzaro wasn't around for the decision, either. He gave up Gordon's home run and scattered five hits over six innings, snapping a string of three straight complete games thrown by A's pitchers.
The A's claimed IF Jeff Larish off waivers from Detroit and optioned him to Triple-A Sacramento. To make room on their 40-man roster, the A's designated IF Adam Heether for assignment. ... Geren's ejection was his third this season.