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Royals try to even series in Oakland

The Kansas City Royals seek revenge for their series- opening loss to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday when they tangle with them at the O.co Coliseum in the second installment of a three-game set.

Kansas City starter James Shields stifled the A's for much of the night on Friday, but served up a leadoff blast to Josh Donaldson in the seventh that tied the game. Adam Rosales scorched a leadoff homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift Oakland to a 2-1 win in the first meeting of the season between these clubs.

"He's pitched great," Royals manager Ned Yost said on Shieds's performance. "Every time he steps on the mound, he competes his heart out. It's just one of those games where we can't give him much support."

David Lough, who was recalled from Triple-A Omaha before the game, collected two of Kansas City's five hits and knocked in the lone run for the Royals, who have lost five of their last seven games. He was hitting .340 (52-for-153) for Triple-A Omaha with three home runs, three triples, six doubles, five stolen bases and 17 RBIs in 36 games.

"Things lately have been going super-well for me," Lough said. "The first week I struggled down there and I just tried to get back to what I was doing in Spring Training, trying to stay consistent."

Alex Gordon went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to five games, but he and Billy Butler struck out two times each. The Royals now enter Saturday trailing the Indians and Tigers by two games for first place in the AL Central.

They have a good chance of gaining ground with Ervin Santana headed to the hill on Saturday. Although Santana gave up four runs and two home runs to the New York Yankees in his last start on Sunday, he was very impressive for a long stretch prior to that.

"It doesn't matter about the names," said Santana after seeing his record fall to 3-2. "If you do the little things, you're going to win games. That's how it is."

Before losing to New York, he went 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA in his last five starts.

Oakland will counter with Tommy Milone, who enters 3-5 with a 3.71 ERA. Milone also struggled on Sunday, allowing five runs to Seattle in just five innings.

"I was getting behind in the count, and then I was pretty much having to throw the ball over the plate to get back into the count," he said, "and they were waiting for it."

The southpaw is on a five-game losing streak despite posting a 3.62 ERA with 31 strikeouts during that stretch.

Oakland was led offensively on Friday by Donaldson, who finished 2-for-3 to raise his average to .323. Rosales's home run on Friday was just his second of the year. Oakland went 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position and left four on base.

The Royals won five of nine versus the Athletics last season, but lost two of three in their lone trip to Oakland.