OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Michael Taylor was running out his single in the ninth inning Tuesday night thinking he never thought the moment would happen.
Three games and six at_bats into his major league career, Taylor finally has a batting average. The only downer was that the Kansas City Royals beat the Oakland Athletics 7-4.
``You always wonder what the situation will be, who will be pitching, things like that,' Taylor said. ``Honestly it was a little surreal and kind of a relief. Now I can take a deep breath and go out and play.'
Taylor flew out to right, popped up to short and walked and scored a run before delivering against Brandon Wood. The A's eventually scored a run and loaded the bases before Royals closer Joakim Soria finished it.
``It's always good to get the first one,' A's manager Bob Melvin said. ``It's a grind until you get it. Now you have an average and you feel like you belong a little more.'
Eric Hosmer and Jeff Francoeur hit back-to-back home runs against A's starter Gio Gonzalez (12-12) in the second inning to spark Kansas City's victory.
``I fell behind the first guy and all of a sudden I make a mistake and he hits it out,' Gonzalez said. ``Then I go 0-1 on Francoeur and try to get a fastball in on him and he gets around on it. I felt like I made quality pitches but came up short on my end.'
Jemile Weeks had three hits and two RBIs for Oakland, which has dropped two straight after sweeping Seattle over the weekend.
Danny Duffy (4-8) allowed only four hits and had four strikeouts over 6 1-3 innings in what is likely his final start of the year.
Gonzalez gave up a career-high 10 hits and walked three in five innings.
In the ninth, Soria walked Cliff Pennington to force in a run before getting Hideki Matsui to ground out to end it.
Gonzalez had won his previous three starts and needed only six pitches to get through the first inning against Kansas City. It turned out to be the highlight of his night.
After Hosmer and Francoeur went back-to-back, Johnny Giavotella and Perez both hit sharp singles. Yamaico Navarro followed with a long fly ball that sailed over the head of Taylor but Giavotella waited at second to tag up and only advanced to third.
``He got a good swing on it and hit a line drive but I thought I had a chance at it,' Taylor said. ``It was off the fence and the runners had to freeze.; I just tried to hit Jemile on the run.'
Alcides Escobar's infield single drove in Giavotella, then Perez scored on Alex Gordon's groundout to make it 4-0.
Duffy almost gave it all back when he walked the first two batters in the third and gave up an RBI double to Weeks. Pennington added a single to drive in Anthony Recker and cut the gap to 4-2.
Kansas City, which batted around in the second, did it again in the fifth to chase Gonzalez, who had allowed only nine hits over two previous starts against the Royals this season. Perez and Navarro both had RBIs in the inning while Gordon drew a bases-loaded walk to give the Royals a 7-2 lead.
Francoeur finished with three hits while Hosmer went 2 for 5. Hosmer fell one hit shy of becoming the first rookie in Royals history to have three or more hits in four consecutive road games.
Weeks added an RBI single in the seventh.
NOTES: A's CF Coco Crisp was scratched from the starting lineup about an hour before the game. Melvin said it was his decision. ``I wasn't comfortable with the way he was moving around,' the manager said. ``He did not pull himself out of the lineup.' Crisp missed the previous two games because of a sore right foot. He fouled a ball off the foot during Saturday's game against Seattle. ... LHP Bruce Chen (10-6) pitches in the series finale for Kansas City. He will be opposed by RHP Guillermo Moscoso (7-8), who has allowed one earned run or fewer in eight of his 17 starts this season. ... Oakland Raiders linebacker Quentin Groves was among the announced crowd of 12,064.
The Associated Press News Service
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