KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Oakland Athletics have two rookie of the year candidates. Ken Macha thinks another one of his players should be in line for an award.
Ellis missed all of last season with a shoulder injury.
"I don't know how you get comeback player of the year, but Mark didn't play at all last year and now he's hitting .300," A's manager Ken Macha said.
Ellis was hitting .258 in his first 28 games, but is batting .325 since May 18 to hike his average to .300. Since the All-Star break, he has 15 RBI and scored 16 runs, while hitting safely in 15 of 17 games.
"Last year at this time, I don't think I was playing catch yet," Ellis said. "I couldn't basically lift my right arm," he said. "I did miss a whole year, so maybe now I'm just regaining my stroke."
Johnson, who extended his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games, went 2-for-3 with three walks and is hitting .392 since the All-Star break, the second-highest average in the American League in that span. Overall, he is hitting .330 with a .414 on-base percentage.
"My timing is down," Johnson said of his home run streak. "That's what it is. My hands are working with my legs right now and I'm hitting some balls hard."
Macha praised Johnson's plate discipline.
"It was impressive that he was getting all those walks, being patient enough to take those pitches," Macha said.
Johnson and teammate Nick Swisher are candidates for AL rookie of the year. Swisher hit a three-run homer in an eight-run seventh, when the A's sent 12 men to the plate. Swisher leads American League rookies with 16 home runs and 57 RBI.
Johnson scored four runs for Oakland, which had 18 hits and matched its highest-scoring game of the season.
Joe Blanton (7-9) held the Royals to three hits in six shutout innings to pick up his second straight road victory. He was 0-6 on the road before winning twice on this trip.
"I'll take as many runs as I can get," Blanton said. "You can never get enough runs. That's definitely the most runs I've had this year."
The A's have won nine of 10 and 16 of 18. The Royals have lost nine straight, matching their longest losing streak of the season.
"Losing is never easy," Royals catcher John Buck said. "It ruins your day."
The Royals (38-72) own the worst record in the majors and made eight roster moves before the game, but played one of their worst games of the season.
"In the nine games, we're doing everything wrong that we were doing right when we were winning," Royals manager Buddy Bell said.
Four Royals pitchers combined to walk 10 batters.
"I've got to come in throw strikes and stay ahead of hitters," said Jimmy Gobble, the second Kansas City pitcher. "I didn't do that. It is totally my fault."
Blanton was in trouble only in the second inning, after Matt Stairs and Emil Brown led off with singles. Blanton got Mark Teahen to roll into a double play and didn't allow another runner to get past first base.
Ellis, dealt by the Royals to Oakland in a 2001 three-team seven-player trade that also included Johnny Damon and Angel Berroa, singled home Jay Payton in a three-run third. His double in a four-run fifth scored Swisher and Bobby Kielty, and knocked out Jose Lima (4-10).
Ellis added a run-scoring double in the seventh.
Kielty and Payton each had three hits. Eric Chavez had three hits, two RBI and scored two runs.
Lima gave up seven runs on nine hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings. He is 0-4 lifetime against the A's with a 12.32 ERA, his highest against any team. Lima, who gave up the home run to Johnson in the fourth, has allowed 24 homers, tied for the American League lead.
|Dan Johnson's dinger gives him a 10-game hitting streak in which he is batting .486 (17-for-35). (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
Nike Athletics Oaktown 2013 Local T-Shirt - Ash
$27.95 Shop Now!
|Jason Kendall, C||5||1||2||1||2||1||3||.275|
|Mark Kotsay, CF||6||0||1||0||0||1||5||.266|
|Bobby Crosby, SS||4||1||0||1||1||2||3||.286|
|Keith Ginter, 3B||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.163|
|Eric Chavez, 3B||5||2||3||2||0||1||1||.275|
|Marco Scutaro, SS||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.248|
|Dan Johnson, 1B||3||4||2||1||3||0||0||.330|
|Jay Payton, LF||6||2||3||2||0||0||3||.279|
|Nick Swisher, RF||3||3||1||3||3||0||0||.258|
|Bobby Kielty, DH||5||2||3||2||1||1||3||.279|
|Mark Ellis, 2B||6||1||3||4||0||0||4||.300|
|2B - Eric Chavez 2 (26, Gobble, Gobble), Jay Payton (10, Bayliss), Mark Ellis 2 (14, Lima, Gobble)|
|HR - Dan Johnson (10, Lima), Nick Swisher (16, Gobble)|
|RBI - Jason Kendall (36), Bobby Crosby (26), Eric Chavez 2 (68), Dan Johnson (31), Jay Payton 2 (37), Nick Swisher 3 (57), Bobby Kielty 2 (48), Mark Ellis 4 (29)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jason Kendall (15), Eric Chavez 2 (17), Jay Payton (13), Nick Swisher 3 (26), Bobby Kielty 2 (22), Mark Ellis 3 (13)|
|Team LOB - 12|
|DP - Ellis-Crosby-Johnson, Crosby-Ellis-Johnson|
|E - Eric Chavez (13, Misplayed grounder)|
|Joe Blanton (W,7-9)||6||3||0||0||0||5||0||4.10|
|HBP - Berroa (by Joe Blanton)|
|WP - Joe Blanton (3)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Joe Blanton 84-54, Keiichi Yabu 28-21, Ricardo Rincon 18-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Blanton 9-3, Keiichi Yabu 3-1, Ricardo Rincon 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Joe Blanton 21, Keiichi Yabu 9, Ricardo Rincon 5|
|Kansas City Royals|
|David DeJesus, CF||4||0||1||1||0||1||0||.287|
|Chip Ambres, LF||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.364|
|Mike Sweeney, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||4||.310|
|Matt Stairs, DH||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||.266|
|a- Paul Phillips, PH-DH||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Emil Brown, RF||3||0||1||0||1||1||0||.284|
|Mark Teahen, 3B||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.249|
|b- Denny Hocking, PH-3B||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||.500|
|Angel Berroa, SS||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.258|
|Joe McEwing, SS||2||1||1||0||0||0||2||.263|
|John Buck, C||4||0||1||0||0||1||4||.228|
|Donnie Murphy, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.189|
|a-grounded out for Stairs in the 7th|
|b-grounded out for Teahen in the 7th|
|2B - Joe McEwing (4, Yabu)|
|RBI - David DeJesus (49)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Gobble-Buck-Sweeney|
|E - Donnie Murphy (4, Wild throw)|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Jose Lima (L,4-10)||4.2||9||7||7||4||3||1||6.84|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jose Lima 89-50, Jimmy Gobble 63-35, Andy Sisco 23-13, Jonah Bayliss 20-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jose Lima 2-9, Jimmy Gobble 5-0, Andy Sisco 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Jose Lima 27, Jimmy Gobble 16, Andy Sisco 6, Jonah Bayliss 6|
|Attendance - 19964|
|Game Time - 2:54|
|Temperature - 85|
|Umpires - Home - Bruce Froemming, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Third Base - Mike Winters|