A's go for series win over K.C. behind Gonzalez

A's go for series win over K.C. behind Gonzalez
June 16, 2011, 2:45 pm
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June 16, 2011

KANSAS CITY (30-38) vs.
A's (29-40)

OAKLAND (AP) -- Though he's only been in the major leagues since 2008, June continues to be a difficult month for Gio Gonzalez.

Gonzalez will try to snap a three-start skid for the Athletics as they close a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals on Thursday afternoon.

With his struggles this month, Gonzalez has dropped to 1-7 with a 4.60 ERA in 11 June starts. The only other months in which the right-hander has posted losing records are August (6-7) and October (0-1).

RELATED: Gio Gonzalez 2011 game logs

Gonzalez had totaled 26 walks in 10 June starts heading into Sunday's matchup with the Chicago White Sox. He issued a career-high seven bases on balls, hit two batters, threw a wild pitch and committed a balk in 5 1-3 innings of Oakland's 3-2 loss.

"I felt like it was a lot better than what the numbers showed. I felt like I gave it all I got. I felt like I was in the game. Not mechanics, just more about composure," Gonzalez told the Athletics' official website.

Gonzalez (5-5, 2.67 ERA) has handed out 23 of his 40 walks this season at O.co Coliseum, where he's 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA.

He beat the Royals on the road May 6 after allowing two runs and four hits over seven innings of a 3-2 victory. Still, Gonzalez is 2-2 with a 6.39 ERA and 15 walks in 25 1-3 innings versus Kansas City.

RELATED: Kansas City Royals news and headlines

The Royals (30-38) will go with Jeff Francis (3-6, 4.40) as he tries to build off his first road win of the season.

The left-hander had been 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in five starts away from Kansas City before facing the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. He allowed two runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings in the 4-2 victory.

"I didn't really change anything. I just tried to make an effort to throw more strikes and make them hit it," Francis said. "Anytime you get a win, it's satisfying as a team - not only as an individual."

Francis, who pitched for Colorado from 2004-10, lost his first game against Oakland on May 8 after giving up three runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-2 defeat.

Oakland (29-40) gave new manager Bob Melvin his first home win, 2-1 on Wednesday.

GUTIERREZ: A's find winning formula against Royals

The A's were held without a hit through five innings by Luke Hochevar, who eventually gave up RBI singles to Cliff Pennington and Daric Barton. Oakland's Josh Outman, meanwhile, yielded four hits through seven innings for the first win by an A's starter in 16 games.

"We took advantage of just about every chance we could get," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It was a well-pitched game on both sides."

The A's haven't had back-to-back home wins since May 16 and 17.

The Royals' Alcides Escobar had three hits for the second straight game and scored on Alex Gordon's base hit in the eighth inning.

Escobar will try to set a career high by extending his hitting streak to nine games. He's batting .552 (16 for 29) during his run, increasing his average 42 points to .245.

Escobar went 1 for 3 against Gonzalez last month.

Kansas City is 3-2 on its nine-game swing that concludes in St. Louis starting Friday night.