Athletics-Royals Preview

The Oakland Athletics finally broke out of their offensive slump

in their last game, putting them in position to win their first

series in nearly a month.

The Athletics conclude a three-game set with the Kansas City

Royals on Sunday.

Oakland snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 9-3 win over

Kansas City on Saturday. After scoring 12 runs during the skid and

following a shutout loss Friday, the Athletics surpassed their run

total from the previous six games combined, finishing with 10 hits,

including four for extra bases.

“We haven’t felt like that in a while,” said Josh Reddick, who

hit a two-run triple in the fifth. “The dugout atmosphere was a lot

better.”

Yoenis Cespedes, who returned Friday from the disabled list,

doubled and finished with three hits, driving in a run and scoring

twice. His return gives Oakland (23-30) good reason to feel better

– the A’s are 16-14 when he’s in the lineup.

The A’s haven’t won a series since taking two of three from

Tampa Bay from May 4-6, but they have a chance to end that drought

as they look to continue the Royals’ season-long misery at home

Sunday.

Kansas City (22-29) failed to match its longest winning streak

of the season, ending its run at three games.

The Royals, who fell to 6-18 at home, had three errors, a wild

pitch, a passed ball and gave up three unearned runs. Luke Hochevar

didn’t make it out of the fifth, giving up six runs.

“It was sloppy all the way around,” manager Ned Yost said. “We

had some opportunities to score some runs and we didn’t capitalize

on it. We made some errors that ended up hurting us in the scoring

department for them. It was just one of those days that wasn’t very

good.”

Poor pitching has been a big source of problems for the Royals

at home. They have a 4.96 ERA there – one of the worst in the

majors.

Bouncing back could be tough against Tommy Milone (6-4 3.64

ERA), who held Kansas City to three hits in eight scoreless innings

of a 1-0 win April 9.

The left-hander, though, has lost two of his last three starts.

He allowed two runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 2-0 loss to the New York

Yankees last Sunday.

Milone has given up two or fewer runs in three of his last four

starts, but has been provided with total of three runs of support

in his last three outings.

“Sometimes it’s hard because you feel like you have to make the

perfect pitch every pitch, and sometimes it gets away from you,” he

said. “You’ve got to go out and pitch your game and hopefully it

works out.”

Kansas City will counter with Vin Mazzaro (1-0, 4.50) will face

his former team for the first time since being traded in November

2010 for David DeJesus.

The right-hander has made two appearances this season, including

a start at Texas on May 15 in which he allowed three runs in five

innings of a 7-4 victory.

Mazzaro was recalled from Triple-A Omaha earlier this week.