Sports

A's rely on red-hot Kazmir in Kansas City

(SportsNetwork.com) - Scott Kazmir tries to continue his tremendous start to the season on Sunday when the Oakland Athletics play the rubber match of their three-game set with the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

After throwing seven scoreless innings his first time out, Kazmir gave up a run and three hits over six innings on Monday in Houston to run his record to 2-0 to go along with a 0.69 ERA. He's also struck out 18 batters over 13 frames.

Kazmir has never won his first three starts of the season and may have a hard time doing so on Sunday, as he is just 4-7 lifetime versus the Royals with a 5.11 ERA in 17 starts.

Kansas City, meanwhile, will turn to lefty Danny Duffy, who is 1-0, despite a 6.35 ERA. Duffy defeated Minnesota on Monday, holding them to three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Duffy has beaten the A's all three times he's faced them and has pitched to a 2.45 ERA in those outings.

Oakland handed Kansas City its first home loss of the season on Saturday, as Josh Reddick poked a three-run home run during a five-run fourth inning to help the Athletics to a 5-0 win.

Billy Butler, who went 1-for-4 in his return to Kauffman Stadium in the series-opening loss on Friday, had a pair of hits with an RBI and run scored. Stephen Vogt also added two hits with an RBI and run scored for Oakland, which snapped its two-game losing streak.

The Athletics' pitching staff has recorded five shutouts out of the team's six wins. There has actually never been a team to record six shutouts through the first 13 games of a season.

Jesse Hahn (1-1) was cruising along until he made a play to first base in the sixth and had to leave the game due to a blister on his throwing hand. Hahn scattered three hits and allowed a walk in 5 1/3 frames.

"I owe a lot of credit to Stephen Vogt because he keeps me in a good rhythm," Hahn said.

Yordano Ventura (2-1) absorbed the loss, but was involved in his second benches-clearing incident in as many starts. One batter after Reddick's home run, Ventura was ejected for hitting Brett Lawrie, whose hard slide into Alcides Escobar raised some eyebrows on Friday.

Escobar missed Saturday's contest because a mild left knee sprain caused by Lawrie.

Kansas City has won five of its last six versus the A's, including last season's thrilling victory in the AL Wild Card game.