Kansas City's slumping offense seemed to come alive upon the Royals' arrival in California.
That's a trend James Shields would like to see continue when he takes the mound Friday night against the Oakland Athletics , as minimal run support has left him with an unimpressive record despite some outstanding outings.
The Royals (20-17) took two of three in Anaheim, capped by a 9-5 win Wednesday. It was their second big offensive performance in three days after matching a season high with 19 hits in Monday's 11-4 victory.
Kansas City entered the series averaging 3.3 runs over a 1-6 stretch. Billy Butler went 3 for 28 in that span, then broke out versus Los Angeles, going 8 for 13 with nine RBIs.
"Keeping those losing streaks down is definitely key throughout a long baseball season," said Lorenzo Cain , who was 5 for 13 with five RBIs and two stolen bases in the series. "So if we just continue to pitch the way we've been pitching and hit like we know how to hit, we'll be fine."
Shields (2-3, 2.48 ERA) has given Kansas City a good chance to win each time out, though the offense hasn't exactly returned the favor. He's recorded one victory over his last six starts despite a 2.15 ERA in that span, receiving three runs of support or fewer five times.
The right-hander suffered a similar fate Saturday as he limited the Yankees to two earned runs and six hits over eight innings in a 3-2 defeat.
Shields was certainly steady the last time he took the hill in Oakland. He allowed three singles without a walk and struck out 11 while going the distance in an 8-0 win for Tampa Bay on July 31.
The Athletics (20-22) are certainly struggling coming into this meeting, having dropped eight of 10 after Wednesday's 6-2 loss to Texas. Oakland is 11-20 since starting an AL-best 9-2.
"We're not playing well right now and we have to power through this, win some games and get on a roll," manager Bob Melvin said.
Oakland's rotation continues to scuffle, posting a 6.69 ERA over the last seven games. It's uncharacteristic for a staff mostly intact from last year, when the team's starters ranked ninth with a 3.80 ERA.
Jarrod Parker (2-5, 6.86), one of the many Athletics pitchers failing to match his 2012 numbers, gets the nod Friday. He recorded a 2.88 ERA through his first seven starts as a rookie last season and finished with a 3.47 ERA.
Parker's latest outing was encouraging, however. He yielded three runs and three hits - walking four - while matching a season-high with 6 1-3 innings in a 4-3 win at Seattle on Saturday.
"One good start's one thing, but we'd like to see him get on a roll," Melvin said.
Coco Crisp was hitless in three at-bats Wednesday as he returned from a strained left hamstring that sidelined him since April 29. He's 3 for 17 with four strikeouts against Shields.
Parker gave up five runs and four hits over 4 2-3 innings in a 5-0 road loss to the Royals last season.
|Kansas City Royals|
|March 31, 2013||Danny Duffy||15-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|February 12, 2013||Felipe Paulino||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||Day-to-Day||Sore right wrist|
|May 06, 2013||Jarrod Parker||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained neck|
|May 01, 2013||Brett Anderson||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle|
|April 30, 2013||Chris Young||15-Day DL||Strained left quad|
|April 30, 2013||Coco Crisp||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- No debating this home run by Adam Rosales .
After being denied a game-tying homer last week in Cleveland that Major League Baseball said the umpiring crew should have reversed, Rosales hit a go-ahead shot leading off the eighth inning after Josh Donaldson connected one inning earlier in the Oakland Athletics ' 2-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.
"I think I was pretty sure about that one," Rosales said with an ear-to-ear grin. "It felt good to get over that hump. Every ballfield I went to, they all were saying, `Oh, it was a homer,' or you talk to family and friends and like, `Yeah, it was a homer.' So, now they'll be talking about something else. They'll talk about a real homer."
Sean Doolittle (3-0) pitched the eighth for the win in relief of Jarrod Parker to help the reigning AL West champions earn just their third victory in the last 11 games.
Oakland finally got to James Shields (2-4) in the late innings, nearly 10 months after he pitched a three-hit shutout here last July 31 for the Tampa Bay Rays . The right-hander matched his season high with nine strikeouts.
In Oakland's 4-3 loss May 8 in Cleveland, umpire Angel Hernandez and his crew didn't give Rosales the home run in the ninth inning after a video review - MLB executive vice president Joe Torre said an "improper call" was made.
Rosales got over it.
"I didn't really have any sting," he said Friday.
David Lough hit an RBI double hours after his promotion from the minors, and also made a great throw to get Brandon Moss at second as he tried to stretch a leadoff single in the fourth.
Donaldson homered leading off the seventh, tying it at 1. After that drive, Shields struck out the side on called third strikes.
Rosales then sent a 1-1 pitch over the left-field wall in the eighth for his second home run.
"I knew he put a good charge into it," Parker said. "It was a no-doubter. That was a huge pickup for us."
Parker allowed four hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked two in a solid 98-pitch performance. Doolittle yielded Lough's one-out single in the eighth but was aided by an inning-ending double play. Grant Balfour finished with a perfect ninth for his seventh save in seven chances and 25th in a row dating to last season.
Parker's strong outing provided a nice lift for the A's on a day they learned lefty opening day starter Brett Anderson has a stress fracture in his right foot and could miss up to six weeks.
"Parker, just getting him on track, it looked like he was more confident," manager Bob Melvin said. "Hopefully that's a springboard."
Salvador Perez hit a one-out double in the third, and Lough knocked him home two batters later. But the Royals did little else in support of Shields.
After Lorenzo Cain drew a two-out walk in the fourth, Parker retired his next eight batters in order before Cain drew another free pass in the seventh.
"It's a tough loss right there. A real tough loss," Shields said.
Lough batted leadoff and played right field after his promotion from Triple-A Omaha to take the spot of center fielder Jarrod Dyson , placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right ankle.
His two-out double in the third put Kansas City ahead. The Royals lead the majors in batting average with two outs.
The Royals stumbled in the series opener after taking two of three against the Angels in Anaheim following a three-game sweep at home by the New York Yankees .
Shields has had some memorable outings in the Coliseum, most recently that gem last summer for the Rays. That came after he was tagged for a career high-tying 10 runs in four innings - nine in the fourth frame alone - in a 13-4 loss here on July 27, 2011, during his 16-win season.
He has just one win over his last seven starts with three losses and three no-decisions. This marked just the second outing in Shields' first nine that the opponent didn't counter with a former All-Star.
"He pitched great and he competes his heart out," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It was combination of things tonight. Their pitcher and we couldn't get anything going."
Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur , who last year had 20 personal pizzas delivered to a small but animated group of A's fans above right field in section 149, stopped by a "Bacon Friday" tailgate outside the ballpark. In 2011, Francoeur tossed a ball wrapped in a $100 bill into the elevated bleacher seats above his outfield spot, instructing fans to use it to buy bacon or beer.
NOTES: Oakland OF Chris Young (strained left quadriceps) was removed from his rehab outing Thursday with Triple-A Sacramento after he experienced some cramping. Back in Oakland a day later, he worked with the strength coach on explosive bursts. He could be ready to return Saturday. "We took him out to be proactive," Melvin said. "If everything goes well today, we'll activate him tomorrow." ... This marked the first of six meetings between the clubs this year. The Royals won the 2012 season series 5-4. ... The Royals used the DL for the first time in season. ... Kansas City's Eric Hosmer ended an 0-for-10 stretch with a second-inning single. He is a .328 career hitter vs. Oakland.