June 15, 2011BOXSCORE A'SVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD
OAKLAND (AP) The Oakland Athletics had a lot of firsts Wednesday night.They won the first home game under new manager Bob Melvin. Jemile Weeks stole his first major league base, and a starting pitcher won for the first time in 16 outings.Most importantly, they finally just won in Oakland again.Josh Outman allowed four hits over seven innings and two relievers helped the struggling A's snap out of a funk by beating the Kansas City Royals 2-1. Oakland hadn't won a game at the Coliseum since May 29."It's always nice to win at home and get a lot of the first out of the way," said Melvin, who is 2-4 since Bob Geren was fired. "First win on the road, home and all that so we can put all that past us and start winning ball games."A complete pitching performance by both sides kept things quiet.
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Cliff Pennington and Daric Barton had RBI singles off starter Luke Hochevar (4-7), who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before it all fell apart. The scuffling A's also got two sparkling defensive plays to end a skid of three straight losses and 13 of 14, a streak that began under Geren.Outman (2-1) struck out two and walked two in the deepest outing of his major league career without allowing a run. Andrew Bailey pitched a perfect ninth for his second save in three chances."I think it's just kind of exciting to be in a pitcher's duel," Outman said. "It was only a matter of time until we broke through."The only noise the Royals made all game came far too late.
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Alcides Escobar had three hits, including a double off reliever Brian Fuentes in the eighth, tying his career high with an eight-game hitting streak. He scored a batter later on Alex Gordon's infield single to trim Oakland's lead to 2-1, with Fuentes and Barton getting mixed up on who was covering first for what should have been an easy out.Melvin came out for a brief conference with Fuentes, who then allowed Melky Cabrera's single to put runners on first and third with two outs. Fuentes rallied by getting Eric Hosmer to foul out along the spacious third-base line."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.Neither team had many opportunities in this one.David DeJesus sent Hochevar's third pitch of the game off the pitcher's right forearm, redirecting the ball to second baseman Chris Getz for an easy groundout. Hochevar was inspected by a team trainer and threw a few light tosses before staying in the game.The hard-throwing right-hander showed no effects from the bruising shot. Hideki Matsui's two walks were the only time an Oakland player reached base until Landon Powell's line-drive single to center leading off the sixth.Then it all came unraveled.Weeks followed with a bunt up the first-base line, Hochevar fielded the ball and tossed it to first baseman Eric Hosmer hustling back to the bag. Television replays appeared to show Hosmer tagging Weeks just before he reached the base, but he was called safe by first base umpire Jeff Nelson.After DeJesus bunted into a fielder's choice, Weeks stole third base without a throw. Then Pennington drove him in with a single to give Oakland a 1-0 lead."That's my game. I'm not a power-hitter. I have to use my legs," Weeks said. "I think that's the route that we're taking. I think that's a good route right now."
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As bad as the Royals were offensively, Oakland was even better defensively.Matt Treanor sent a shot off Outman deep to left field in the fourth that seemed headed for the seats. Josh Willingham backpedalled to the wall and leaped up to catch the ball near the top of the wall, robbing Treanor of extra bases and possibly a home run.Ryan Sweeney provided another big defensive play for the A's, running down Jeff Francoeur's soaring shot to deep center in the seventh with a runner on first. Sweeney followed with a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning, and Barton drove him in two batters later to put Oakland ahead 2-0.NOTES: Oakland RHP Rich Harden, on the DL since straining a muscle behind his right shoulder early in spring training, threw about 40 pitches in a simulated game before batting practice. He hopes to begin a rehab assignment in the minors as early as next week. ... Athletics CF Coco Crisp sat out the game with a sore right heel. He expects to be back in the lineup Thursday. ... Royals LHP Bruce Chen (left lat strain) will make a rehab start for Triple-A Omaha on Saturday, and RHP Kyle Davies (right shoulder inflammation) will make a rehab start Saturday for Double-A Northwest Arkansas.