Hochevar tries a ninth time for his first career win over Oakland as the Royals seek to complete a three-game sweep Thursday night.
The Athletics (61-55) have fallen off the pace since their impressive July run helped them move into playoff contention. They remained 1 1/2 games back of the second AL wild-card spot following a 3-2 loss Wednesday.
"It stunk," said starter Brandon McCarthy , who was charged with the loss. "It was a bad loss for us across the board. These are games we expect to win and games we have been winning all year."
The loss was Oakland's third straight and seventh in 10 games. The A's were shut out on three hits Tuesday, and they've totaled five runs while hitting .175 during their current losing streak.
They struck out nine times Wednesday, ending a four-game streak with at least 10.
"I think at times you press a little bit when you get the opportunities and you're not getting them in," manager Bob Melvin told his team's official website. "We just have to go out there and try to win a game (Thursday)."
The struggling lineup is also dealing with injuries. Brandon Inge was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a sprained right shoulder, and Josh Reddick was out of the lineup Wednesday due to issues following a tooth extraction Monday.
Reddick, who was in the lineup Tuesday and went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts, leads Oakland with 25 homers and 60 RBIs but is hitting .134 in his last 15 games.
As the A's try to avoid their first four-game losing streak since a nine-game skid May 22-June 1, facing Hochevar (7-10, 5.32 ERA) could help.
The right-hander fell to 0-7 with a 6.96 ERA in eight career starts versus Oakland on June 2, when he allowed six runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 9-3 defeat.
Hochevar was also knocked around Friday at Baltimore, giving up seven runs and three homers in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-1 loss.
"Three unexecuted pitches and that's what cost me," Hochevar told the Royals' official website. "That's all on me. I've got to execute better in big situations."
Kansas City (51-65) is looking to sweep Oakland for the first time since 2008. The Royals have won six of eight overall, with their staff posting a 2.70 ERA in that stretch.
Their lineup will get its first look at rookie Daniel Straily (0-0, 5.06), who is making his third major league start for Oakland.
After giving up one run over six innings against Toronto in his debut, the right-hander struggled against the Los Angeles Angels last Wednesday, surrendering five runs on four homers in 4 2-3 innings. He escaped without a decision when the Athletics rallied to win 9-8.
|August 12, 2012||Brandon Inge||15-Day DL||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 12, 2012||Brandon Inge||Day-to-Day||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 07, 2012||Eric Sogard||15-Day DL||Strained back|
|August 05, 2012||A.J. Griffin||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|August 04, 2012||A.J. Griffin||Day-to-Day||Sore right shoulder|
|August 03, 2012||Seth Smith||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
|Kansas City Royals|
|July 28, 2012||Mike Moustakas||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained right knee|
|July 05, 2012||Luke Hochevar||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|June 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Lateral strain in lower left leg|
|June 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Lateral strain in lower left leg|
|June 07, 2012||Felipe Paulino||60-Day DL||Strained right groin|
|May 26, 2012||Jarrod Dyson||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right hamstring injury|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Dan Straily was surrounded by trouble in the second inning when pitching coach Curt Young made a visit to the mound.
Straily went on to earn his first major league victory as Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes homered to lead the Oakland Athletics to a 3-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.
Straily (1-0), a 24th-round draft pick in 2009, held the Royals to three singles over 6 1-3 innings in his third major league start. Straily, who walked two and struck out two, pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the second inning.
The Royals loaded the bases on a single by Salvador Perez and walks to Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer . After the walk to Hosmer, Young went out to talk to Straily.
"He just came out and said, `Hey, what's going on guys,"' Straily said. "We just needed to talk about it real quick. It was all right, make pitches and get out of this and he turned around and jogged away. I made a couple of pitches and got out of it.
"From there I found a rhythm and was able to kind of cruise through the next couple of innings."
Chris Getz grounded out to first baseman Chris Carter to end the inning and strand the runners.
"As Curt does many times, he's a very calming influence, especially with these younger guys," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "To pitch well like that in a close game, you're up here kind of walking on egg shells and really wanting that first win. He deserved it tonight.
"This was the stuff we heard and talked about. He had all his pitches working. He was unpredictable. He had real good downplay on his fastball, which we haven't seen. He was throwing to the bottom part of the zone better today. It was a good outing for him."
Crisp, who played for the Royals in 2009, was 2 for 27 this season against Kansas City before the home run.
"It felt we were starting to grind a little harder than we should," Melvin said. "You start digging and it doesn't feel like anything is going to happen. At the time, that was certainly the key hit of the game and it ended up being the key hit. You get into a mode sometimes when you're not swinging the bat, it's like `Oh, here we go again,' and you try to fight those demons."
Crisp drilled a 2-0 pitch from Luke Hochevar deep to right. The ball hit high off a green wall beyond the fence and caromed back onto the field. It was first ruled a double, but Melvin disputed that. After the umpires viewed replays, it was changed to a home run.
Hochevar (7-11) gave up three runs and four hits in seven-plus innings. Hochevar is 0-8 with a 6.52 ERA in nine career starts against Oakland. Hochevar said he doesn't let his record against the A's enter his mind.
"It doesn't matter the lineup or what my history is," Hochevar said. "You've got enough to think about out there. I can't be going out and thinking about the history."
The A's had only a bunt single in the fourth inning by Josh Reddick before Crisp's home run.
Cespedes, who is hitting .368 since the All-Star break, hit his 15th home run on an 0-2 pitch from Hochevar in the seventh.
The Royals loaded the bases again in the seventh with singles by Billy Butler , Moustakas and Hosmer. Jerry Blevins , the third Oakland pitcher of the inning, retired Getz on a fly ball to shallow center on the first pitch.
Grant Balfour worked a spotless ninth to log his ninth save in 11 opportunities.
The A's added a run in the eighth when Jemile Weeks ' two-out single scored Derek Norris , who led off the inning with a single and stole second.
Notes: Royals LF Alex Gordon was moved from batting leadoff to the third slot. "We felt the time was right to go ahead and put Alex in that spot and ride it out for the remainder of the year," Royals manager Ned Yost said. Royals No. 3 hitters had a .223 average with 17 home runs and 57 RBIs entering Thursday. "We've been struggling a little bit in the 3 slot, trying to get that to settle down a little bit and we haven't been able to," Yost said. He said Gordon projects as a No. 3-4-5 hitter in the Royals lineup. ... The A's struck out 11 times, the sixth straight game they have struck out at least nine times, which is the longest streak in Oakland history. .All six of Crisp's home runs are with the bases empty. ... Royals RHP Luis Mendoza starts Friday against Chicago. He is 3-3 with a 4.38 ERA in seven career games against the White Sox, who will start LHP Chris Sale . ...The Athletics open a homestand Friday with LHP Tommy Milone starting against Cleveland. Milone, who has not pitched since Aug. 5, is 5-3 with a 2.13 ERA in 10 home starts.