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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.