A's take series in K.C. with 5-2 win over Royals


A's take series in K.C. with 5-2 win over Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) When Oakland right-hander Tyson Ross took the mound against Kansas City on Sunday, he had no idea he would be called upon to execute a defensive play he'd never even seen before, let alone practiced.In the second inning of what turned into a 5-2 victory for the Athletics, Jeff Francoeur singled and headed for second when Eric Hosmer hit a hard grounder to second baseman Mark Ellis. He knocked the ball down and tried to scoop it to shortstop Cliff Pennington for the force at second, but the ball sailed into no man's land between second and third.Francoeur hesitated for a couple of seconds, then kept going as third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff ran down the ball.That left third base uncovered. But Ross alertly bolted for the bag and got there just in time to stretch out his 6-foot-6 frame and make the tag for a highly unusual 4-5-1 putout."I did everything in my power to get over there," Ross said. "It was a foot race and I'm not too fast. I saw Kouz get the ball. Him and Francoeur kind of looked at each other and I looked and realized I've got to bust my tail over there. Kouz gave me a good feed and I'm just lucky I'm tall and was able to cut him off short."It wasn't the sort of play a guy can practice."I've never even seen that play before," Ross said. "Kouz threw it right where I needed it to be."Using his length, Ross barely got to Francoeur in time to make the tag."I don't know any other pitcher who can make that play," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "He closed like a horse in a horse race. I had a feeling he was going to get the out, but I was just hoping he didn't hurt himself. It's a dangerous play for a pitcher, but the athleticism kicks in."Kouzmanoff and Kurt Suzuki each homered and Conor Jackson had three hits to help Ross earn his first win in four starts.Ross (2-2), who moved into the rotation last month when Dallas Braden went on the disabled list, went six innings and gave up two runs on six hits, with three walks and four strikeouts. He has not allowed a home run in 28 2-3 innings."I thought he pounded the zone really well the first half of the game for sure," Geren said. "He had good movement. He makes for a tough at-bat for the opposition."Brian Fuentes pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his ninth save in 11 opportunities as the A's took the series two games to one."He's darn good," Royals manager Ned Yost said about Ross. "That kid threw strikes, banged strikes with quality stuff. He had a nasty slider, fastball up to 96 (mph) with some tail and some sink to it. Their pitching staff is pretty formidable."The A's grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first after third baseman Wilson Betemit's throwing error let Coco Crisp reach base to start the game. Daric Barton followed with a double. Jackson's RBI single made it 1-0 and then Josh Willingham brought home Barton with a fielder's choice grounder.Kouzmanoff's home run off winless starter Jeff Francis with two outs in the sixth put the A's on top 3-0. Suzuki added a solo shot in the ninth off Louis Coleman.Francis (0-4) was charged with three runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings. He walked one and struck out one."Francis threw the ball real well," Yost said. "He struggled a little bit in the first inning, but we didn't help his cause defensively."Ross took a 3-0 lead into the sixth but got in trouble with a throwing error when he tried to scoop Melky Cabrera's infield single to first.Cabrera wound up on second and scored on Eric Hosmer's two-out double, the rookie first baseman's first major league RBI. Betemit walked and then, on a bang-bang play, Hosmer raced home on a single by Mitch Maier and scored a split-second before Betemit was tagged out at second on a strong throw from right fielder David DeJesus.Blake Wood gave up a single to Ellis and walked Pennington before Tim Collins came out of the bullpen and gave up an RBI single to Crisp with his first pitch in the eighth, making it 4-2.Hosmer's double was a line drive that bounced off the top of the wall in right-center.For a second, it looked as though the heralded rookie slugger was going to get his first major league homer."I thought it had a chance," he said. "But the wind was blowing pretty hard right-to-left. I'm just glad we got the run in and started to make a little comeback there."It was the first home series loss of the year for the Royals, who had three runners thrown out on the bases.NOTES: It was the 43rd anniversary of Catfish Hunter's perfect game for Oakland. Only 6,298 fans were on hand to see Hunter beat the Twins 4-0 with the AL's first perfect game in 46 years. ... Braden, on the DL with a sore left shoulder, is scheduled to meet with specialists in Florida and New York this week. ... After committing 27 errors in their first 29 games, the A's were spotless in five straight until Ross' bad scoop in the sixth. ... Ross has not allowed a home run since June 20, 2010. ... Kansas City DH Billy Butler got his first day off this season.

Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake


Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake


SAN JOSE — Danny Hoesen scored his second goal of the season and assisted on Marco Urena's second goal, lifting the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

Hoesen opened the scoring in the 13th minute, off a long cross from Nick Lima. After touching the ball down, Hoesen gathered it off a defender's foot, stepped inside and unleashed a left footer into the top corner from just off the penalty spot.

Hoesen's long through ball down the right side sent Urena free and from a tight angle he rolled the ball past Nick Rimando in the 68th minute.

San Jose (6-6-5), which has battled injuries and call-ups to score just 16 goals in 16 games, won for just the second time in its last seven games.

Lima picked up two yellow cards in the second half and the Quakes played a man down from the 71st minute.

David Bingham made only one save in each half but was denied his seventh shutout when Jose Hernandez scored his second goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time for Salt Lake (5-11-2).

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Practically speaking, the 50th loss is no different than the one before or the one after, but this sport is built on milestones, and this one came quickly.

The Giants lost their 50th game on August 12 last year. This season, it was clinched when Ryder Jones grounded out in his fourth career at-bat, handing the Mets a 5-2 win on June 24. 

Bruce Bochy called losing 50 of your first 77 games "hard to believe" and "embarrassing." Johnny Cueto, who went seven strong, said the reality was "hard and sad." Brandon Belt, who got Cueto off the hook for a loss, agreed with his manager.

"That's a pretty good word to use -- it is embarrassing to come out and lose every day, especially with the group of guys we have," Belt said. "When you're losing as much as this, it is embarrassing. We're trying to do whatever we can to turn this thing around."

Lately, that has meant changes to the roster. It is officially audition season, and in that respect, it was not a particularly inspiring day for the bullpen. The Giants felt they would have a better mix this year, but it hasn't played out. Instead, they're once again trying to find pieces for the next successful Giants bullpen.

With Hunter Strickland suspended and Derek Law in the minors, two young relievers, a middle-innings stalwart, and a newcomer pitched the final two frames. They gave up four runs.

Sam Dyson was the first on the mound in the eighth. Belt had homered a few minutes earlier, tying a good starter's duel. Dyson gave up a leadoff triple to Curtis Granderson and walked Asdrubal Cabrera before throwing two good sliders past Yoenis Cespedes for the strikeout. With two lefties coming up and the go-ahead run still on third, Bochy turned to Steven Okert. He immediately gave up a seeing-eye RBI single to Jay Bruce. Wilmer Flores doubled off George Kontos later in the frame to make it 3-1. 

In the ninth, Kyle Crick showed some of the wildness that kept him in the minors for seven years. He, too, gave up a leadoff triple, a sin you always pay for. A walk helped put another run into scoring position and a wild pitch extended the Mets’ lead to four. 

Before the game, Bochy talked of getting an extended look at Jones. He was 0-for-4 in his first big league game but he’ll be back out there tomorrow. It’s time to fight for a job, and the same holds true of some relievers who didn’t fare well Saturday. It is a group with a closer locked into a longterm deal and little else decided. 

Are Strickland or Law eighth-inning guys? Will Dyson be a worthwhile reclamation project? Will Kontos be back, and will he carve out a different role? Are Okert and Josh Osich capable of giving Bochy lefties he trusts? Is Crick’s improvement in Triple-A a sign of things to come? There are many questions to be answered over the next three months. 

“This is a good time for them, this is what players get up here for, to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “Because of our situation, we’re going to take a look at these guys and we know there are going to be growing pains.”