Vin Mazzaro pitched six stellar innings and the Kansas City Royals beat the punchless Athletics 2-0 Sunday, handing Oakland its third shutout in four games.
Eric Hosmer homered as the Royals sent the A’s to their 10th loss in 11 games.
“A shutout is a shutout,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “I thought we were going to score some runs, especially early on. We didn’t capitalize on the opportunities we had early on, then it seemed like (Mazzaro) got better as the game went on.”
Mazzaro (2-0), who pitched for the A’s in 2009-10 before being traded to the Royals, allowed four singles, walked three and struck out three.
Mazzaro escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first after giving up singles to Collin Cowgill and Josh Reddick and walking Kila Ka’aihue. Brandon Inge grounded out to end the inning.
Relievers Kelvin Herrera, Greg Holland and Jonathan Broxton each gave up one hit in one inning, completing the Royals’ fifth shutout of the year. Broxton got his 13th save in 15 opportunities.
Royals left fielder Alex Gordon made a key play in the fifth. With one out and runners on second and third, Gordon caught Reddick’s fly in foul territory and threw out Adam Rosales at home by three steps.
“We’ve got to take a chance,” Melvin said. “Off-balance throw, on the run. It has to be right on the money. The way we’ve been swinging the bats, to an extent, you have to take the opportunity to score the run right there. But it was a heck of a play.”
Hosmer homered to center field leading off the second against Tommy Milone (6-5). It was Hosmer’s first home run of the season off a left-handed pitcher.
“I started off a little rough, felt like I wasn’t getting ahead of hitters or throwing a lot of strikes,” Milone said. “But I settled down and was able to get some more quality pitches and keep the ball down. It was just a bad pitch to Hosmer, trying to go away with a cutter and just left it right over the plate and that’s where he hits his homers — right there, kind of middle in. Just left it there for him.”
The Royals got another run in the fifth when Johnny Giavotella’s single scored Jarrod Dyson, who started the inning with a single and stole second.
Milone gave up eight hits in seven innings and matching his career high with six strikeouts. He tossed eight scoreless innings and allowed three hits to beat the Royals 1-0 on April 9 in his A’s debut.
“Milone pitched the way he’s been pitching all year,” Melvin said. “He got in some jams a couple of times. But you give up two runs, you keep your team in the game with a chance to win. You expect to score at least two runs every ballgame.
Oakland’s Cliff Pennington went 0 for 3 with a sacrifice bunt and is hitless in his past 29 at-bats, the longest drought of his career.
“It’s been definitely a tough stretch,” Pennington said. “We played pretty well earlier in the year and lately, we haven’t been getting the hits like we were. We’ve just got to start getting that big hit.”
NOTES: A’s 2B Jemile Weeks was held out of the lineup with a hip strain, which he hurt Saturday. Rosales replaced him at second base. Weeks grounded out to end the game as a pinch hitter, snapping his nine-game hitting streak. … The A’s open a homestand Monday with rookie RHP Jarrod Parker starting against the Texas Rangers.