Royals 2, Athletics 0

Ned Yost and everyone else in the Royals dugout was yelling at

Felipe Paulino when Jemile Weeks took off for second base with two

outs in the third inning Friday night.

Paulino never heard them. How could he out on the mound with the

crowd roaring?

Yet he whirled around anyway and threw Weeks out with a pinpoint

throw, getting out of a jam and keeping the Oakland Athletics off

the scoreboard. He managed to get through six innings before

turning it over to the Kansas City bullpen, which held on for the

2-0 victory.

As for the pickoff throw in the third, well, everything’s been

going Paulino’s way lately.

”The biggest out was the caught stealing,” Yost said.

”Paulino made a fantastic throw. We were all yelling, `Step off!

Step off! Step off!’ But you can’t hear anything out there.”

Paulino stepped off anyway and made the key out of the game, and

then came back the next inning and picked off Yoenis Cespedes when

he drifted too far off first base.

The two outs in tight situations helped Paulino (3-1) hold the

opposition off the scoreboard entirely through six innings for the

fourth time in six starts, making him the unquestionable ace of one

of the most haphazard starting rotations in baseball.

”Everything is going good for me,” Paulino said. ”I got in a

couple of situations in the third and fourth, but I tried to put up

zeroes and I did that.”

Yuniesky Betancourt came off the disabled list to provide an RBI

double in the first, and Mike Moustakas added an RBI blooper to

left later in the inning, helping Kansas City win for only the

sixth time in 23 games at Kauffman Stadium this season.

Both of the Royals’ runs were charged to Bartolo Colon (4-6),

who recovered from a sloppy start to last seven innings – an

encouraging outing after going 1-3 with a 7.92 ERA in May.

Jonathan Broxton worked a perfect ninth for his 12th save.

”I was able to throw some strikes,” said Broxton, who was

facing the A’s for the first time since back-to-back hit batters

gave Oakland a victory on the Royals’ opening road trip. ”I

started elevating, and once I started elevating, they started

swinging right through it.”

The A’s have been shut out six times in their last 16 games, and

have been outscored 39-12 during their current losing streak. They

came into the night ranked last in the majors in batting average

(.210) and slugging percentage (.338), and second-to-last in

on-base percentage and runs.

”It’s pretty much the same story offensively. We’re having some

struggles,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. ”No matter what

you’re doing, you’re always trying to find things to do to better

yourself. We’re just having trouble doing it.”

The Royals nearly added to their first-inning cushion, but

Alcides Escobar grounded out to leave two runners aboard in the

first. Kansas City also left a runner in scoring position in the

second inning before failing twice to plate a run with the bases

loaded in the third.

Colon was brilliant over the next four innings, allowing only a

two-out single by Escobar in the sixth and a leadoff single by

Humberto Quintero in the seventh.

”A veteran like him doesn’t let a couple of runs early on

fluster him,” Melvin said. ”He just puts that aside and goes out

and pitches the game.”

The problem for Oakland was that Paulino was just as good.

The right-hander wasn’t particularly efficient, burning through

94 pitches in six innings, yet he managed to keep a struggling

Oakland lineup off balance all night.

Jemile Weeks led off the game with a groundball double that just

skipped past Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, but Paulino came

back to retire the next eight in order.

He also set the A’s down in order in the fifth and sixth before

turning it over to the bullpen, which has been stellar most of the

season. Kelvin Herrera worked a perfect seventh and Greg Holland

worked around a one-out walk before handing the game to Broxton in

the ninth.

”Our pitching was phenomenal tonight,” Yost said. ”Felipe

Paulino threw the ball very well, and the bullpen did what it’s

been doing all year.”

Notes: Cespedes (strained left hand) came off the DL to go 0 for

4. … Betancourt (right ankle sprain) went 1 for 4 in his return

from the DL. INF Irving Falu was optioned to Triple-A Omaha to

clear space for him. … Royals LHP Everett Teaford (lower

abdominal strain) said he felt good after throwing BP. He plans to

throw a bullpen session Monday before a rehab assignment. …

Brandon McCarthy will start for Oakland on Saturday against the

Royals’ Luke Hochevar.