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Reddick leads early barrage as Athletics beat Royals

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The Canadian Press
7/7/2013 5:44:46 PM
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Josh Reddick homered and drove in four runs for the Oakland Athletics on Sunday. Jed Lowrie had three hits, including a homer of his own.

So when Eric Sogard went deep, who really cared?

"There was no home run tunnel or anything," the light-hitting Sogard joked of a rather muted home run celebration that awaited him after rounding the bases during a 10-4 win over the Kansas City Royals. "They were probably surprised I hit one."

Sogard went without a homer in 260 at-bats, since April 27, 2012.

It was that kind of day for the Oakland offence, though. The A's pounded out 15 hits, and everybody in the starting lineup except Chris Young had one against the Royals' haphazard pitching.

"We got some runs early," said Josh Donaldson, who had a pair of hits. "Then it seemed like every time they got a run our offence would answer right back."

A.J. Griffin (7-6) rebounded from a miserable start against the Cubs to go five innings for the A's. The only damage he allowed came on solo homers by George Kottaras and Alex Gordon.

Jesse Chavez earned his first career save with four scoreless innings of relief.

"Saved the bullpen, that's all I was trying to do," Chavez said.

Luis Mendoza (2-5) allowed five runs in the second inning for the Royals, and was yanked to a round of boos after retiring just four batters. It was the right-hander's shortest start in exactly five years -- since an outing on July 7, 2008, when he was still with Texas.

"He fell behind early, which puts you in a defensive mode," Kottaras said. "Once he falls behind, hitters can look for a pitch in a certain zone and took advantage of it. It happens."

It's happened twice in a row now: Mendoza gave up four runs on six hits and four walks in just four innings his last time out against Cleveland. He hasn't won since June 14 at Tampa Bay.

"A rough outing really for our pitching staff today," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Mendoza's struggles began with a single in the second by Yoenis Cespedes. John Jaso added a one-out walk and Reddick's line drive to left gave Oakland a 2-0 lead.

Mendoza struck out Chris Young before another double by Sogard and back-to-back singles by Coco Crisp and Lowrie knocked him from the game. Chen came in from the bullpen and gave up another base hit to Josh Donaldson before finally getting out of the inning.

Kottaras got the home crowd energized with his homer in the second, but the A's refused to let the Royals engineer another five-run comeback like they did Thursday against Cleveland. Jaso's one-out single set the table for Reddick, who launched his fourth homer of the year.

After a breakthrough year in which he hit 32 homers, Reddick had been scuffling until he got to Kansas City. He was hitting just .210 with three homers and 25 RBIs in his first 57 games, but found the expansive outfield off Kauffman Stadium to be to his liking.

"Reddick's been swinging the bat really well here recently," A's manager Bob Melvin said, "and that's the next step, to start driving the ball."

Gordon, who missed the first game of the series after a scary collision with the outfield wall earlier in the week, validated his first All-Star nod a day earlier with his homer. His ninth of the season came with two outs in the fifth inning.

Lowrie answered it with a solo shot of his own in the sixth.

The Royals tried to rally again in the bottom half off A's reliever Jerry Blevins. Mike Moustakas hit an RBI double and Miguel Tejada an RBI single in which he beat a throw to first with a head-first slide. Chavez ended the rally when he retired Eric Hosmer with the bases loaded.

Sogard's two-run homer in the seventh ended any thoughts of another Royals comeback.

"We're in the middle of a tough stretch," Yost said. "It started here. We're 3-3 in this tough stretch. The Yankees are tough, a four-game series. And it's going to be a tough three-game series in Cleveland. We've got to continue to play good baseball if we're going to be successful this next week. We're going to have to grind it out and try to find a way to win some ball games."

NOTES: All-Star C Salvador Perez was held out of the Royals' starting lineup. Yost said Perez has been playing through a soft tissue and bone bruise on his leg from a foul ball. ... Melvin said All-Star RHP Bartolo Colon will pitch next Sunday against Boston. That will make available another spot on Detroit manager Jim Leyland's AL roster. ... Lowrie was back in the A's starting lineup at SS after experience stiffness in his left calf.

Josh Reddick (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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