Oakland, Calif. Brandon Moss hit a tiebreaking triple in the sixth inning to help Tommy Milone outduel Ervin Santana, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Kansas City Royals, 2-1, on Saturday night.
The A’s had just five hits and were held to two runs for the third consecutive game but made it hold up in front of a rare sellout crowd at the Oakland Coliseum. The A’s also beat Kansas City, 2-1, on Friday.
Milone (4-5) wasn’t crisp and pitched with runners on base in all but one of his six innings. The left-hander allowed a run in the first inning then blanked the Royals the rest of the way to end his five-game losing streak.
Billy Butler singled twice and drove in the only run for Kansas City, which has lost nine of 12.
Moss was mired in a 4-for-30 slump before tripling over the head of center fielder Lorenzo Cain to drive in Coco Crisp, who had walked. Eric Sogard started the inning with a leadoff double and scored on Jed Lowrie’s sacrifice fly.
Oakland didn’t get much else but didn’t need it.
Milone walked three and had four strikeouts but overcame his uneven performance to win for the first time since April 15. Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle each pitched a scoreless inning of relief, and Grant Balfour worked the ninth for his eighth save.
Santana (3-3) pitched much more effectively than Milone but was denied in his third attempt at earning his 100th career victory. He allowed only three base-runners through the first five innings and gave up just four hits total but got little support.
The Royals failed to score after loading the bases against Milone with no outs in the second. They also stranded a runner at third with one out in the fourth.
Kansas City had the tying run on base in the ninth after Eric Hosmer drew a leadoff walk but Balfour retired the next three batters on flyouts.
Alex Gordon doubled with two outs in the first and scored on Butler’s bloop single to give Kansas City a 1-0 lead.
The Royals loaded the bases with no outs in the second but Milone got out of it without allowing a run. Elliott Johnson fouled out to Moss near the Kansas City dugout before Milone struck out Cain and Alcides Escobar.
Milone worked out of trouble again in the third when he gave up a leadoff double to Salvador Perez before retiring the next three batters.
Notes: Oakland OF Chris Young went 0-for-2 with a walk in his first game back from the disabled list. Young was activated before the game. ... A’s 3B Josh Donaldson doubled in the second to extend his hitting streak to a career-best seven games. ... To clear room for Young, Oakland 1B Daric Barton was designated for assignment. Barton hit .143 with one home run and three RBIs in eight games with the A’s. It’s the second time this season Barton has been designated for assignment. ... RHP A.J. Griffin (4-3) starts the series finale for Oakland in his first career appearance against the Royals. ... RHP Luis Mendoza (1-2), who pitches for Kansas City today, has a 3.48 ERA in five appearances against the A’s.