Published August 17, 2012
| Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Luke Hochevar won't see the Oakland Athletics again until 2013, which is none too soon for him.
The right-hander just hasn't found a way to beat the A's.
Hochevar (7-11) gave up three runs and four hits, including home runs to Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes, in seven-plus innings in a 3-0 loss to the A's on Thursday night.
Hochevar is 0-8 with a 6.52 ERA in nine career starts against Oakland. He tries to put that out of his mind.
"It doesn't matter the lineup or what my history is," Hochevar said. "You've got enough to think about out there. I can't be going out and thinking about the history."
Crisp, who played for the Royals in 2009, was 2 for 27 this season against Kansas City before the home run.
Crisp drilled a 2-0 pitch from Hochevar deep to right. The ball hit high off a green wall beyond the fence and caromed back onto the field. It was first ruled a double, but manager Bob Melvin disputed that. After the umpires viewed replays, it was changed to a home run.
Cespedes, who is hitting .368 since the All-Star break, hit his 15th home run on an 0-2 pitch from Hochevar in the seventh.
"I made those two mistakes, well, one mistake," Hochevar said. "I fell behind to Coco and made an aggressive pitch away. He put a good swing on it. Cespedes, I threw two fastballs on the outer half and the third one he caught. It might have been up a bit, but it was on the outer half. It was still a good pitch."
While Hochevar pitched well, the Royals' offense mustered only six singles and left the bases loaded in the second and seventh innings.
"Most nights giving up two runs going to the eighth you're going to have a really good chance of winning the game," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We just couldn't get him any runs. We couldn't get anything going."
Dan Straily, who picked up his first major league victory, and four relievers combined on the shutout. It was the sixth shutout — four by the Royals, two by the A's — in the nine meetings between the clubs this season.
Straily (1-0), a 24th-round draft pick in 2009, held the Royals to three singles over 6 1-3 innings in his third major league start. Straily, who walked two and struck out two, pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the second inning.
The Royals loaded the bases on a single by Salvador Perez and walks to Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer in the second. Chris Getz grounded out to first baseman Chris Carter to end the inning.
The Royals loaded the bases again in the seventh with singles by Billy Butler, Moustakas and Hosmer. Jerry Blevins, the third Oakland pitcher of the inning, retired Getz on a fly ball to shallow center on the first pitch.
Grant Balfour worked a spotless ninth to log his ninth save in 11 opportunities.
The A's added a run in the eighth when Jemile Weeks' two-out single scored Derek Norris, who led off the inning with a single and stole second.
Notes: Royals LF Alex Gordon was moved from batting leadoff to the third slot. "We felt the time was right to go ahead and put Alex in that spot and ride it out for the remainder of the year," Yost said. ... Royals No. 3 hitters had a .223 average with 17 home runs and 57 RBIs entering Thursday. "We've been struggling a little bit in the 3 slot, trying to get that to settle down a little bit and we haven't been able to," Yost said. He said Gordon projects as a No. 3-4-5 hitter in the Royals lineup. ... The A's struck out 11 times, the sixth straight game they have struck out at least nine times, which is the longest streak in Oakland history. .All six of Crisp's home runs are with the bases empty. .Royals RHP Luis Mendoza starts Friday against Chicago. He is 3-3 with a 4.38 ERA in seven career games against the White Sox, who will start LHP Chris Sale. .The Athletics open a homestand Friday with LHP Tommy Milone starting against Cleveland. Milone, who has not pitched since Aug. 5, is 5-3 with a 2.13 ERA in 10 home starts.