KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Ken Macha picks his onfield arguments carefully. He certainly chose well Friday night.
When third base umpire Jerry Meals said Mark Ellis had hit nothing more than a long foul ball down the left field line, the Oakland Athletics manager went out and lobbied for Meals to ask the rest of the crew for help.
The result: Meals reversed his call, signaling "home run." Ellis' two-run shot in the third inning -- part of his season-high four-RBI night -- turned out to be the difference in the Athletics' 5-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.
It was Oakland's 11th straight win in Kauffman Stadium, where the A's haven't lost a series to Kansas City since July 1999.
"I don't go out much," said Macha, who later failed to get an "out" call reversed at first base. "I get out there when I see the play and know I'm right, or feel like I'm right."
Ellis was running with his head down and didn't see Meals' original call.
"I thought it was maybe going to hit the wall, or maybe bounce in front of it," he said. "But I heard they made the right call."
The home run gave Oakland a 2-1 lead, and Ellis -- dropped to the No. 9 spot after struggling at the plate in recent games -- added a two-run double that chased starter Joe Mays (0-3) in the Athletics' three-run fourth.
Oakland starter Dan Haren (1-2) withstood a cold, steady rain that fell for much of the night, allowing two runs and eight hits in eight innings. He walked one, hit two batters and struck out six in his first victory since a 6-1 decision over the Los Angeles Angels last Sept. 28.
"It was sloppy out there. The mound was sloppy," Haren said. "I thought we were going to be fortunate to get five (innings) in, but fortunately the rain let up and I was able to slow down and get into my game more."
Kiko Calero relieved Haren to start the ninth and got Angel Berroa to fly out to right. But then he gave up Matt Stairs' pinch-hit single and walked Esteban German and Mark Grudzielanek. Kirk Saarloos came on and walked Mike Sweeney to force in a run. He then struck out Reggie Sanders and got Doug Mientkiewicz to ground out for his first career save.
"That first pitch I swung through, that was my pitch and I overswung," said Sanders, who led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer that broke an 0-for-15 slump and got the Royals within 5-2. "I was like, 'Oh, my God."'
Sweeney, who hit a solo home run in the first inning, had to duck out of the way of ball four. He strained his back, was lifted for a pinch runner and will undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Mays gave up four runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings, with five walks and no strikeouts. Jimmy Gobble held Oakland hitless for 3 2-3 innings, allowing only one baserunner and striking out four before being lifted for Luke Hudson to start the eighth.
In the top of the fourth, after Jason Kendall's sacrifice fly made it 3-1, left fielder Emil Brown leaped for Ellis' long fly only to see it hit the wall and bounce back for a double and a 5-1 lead.
That just made a bad inning worse for Brown. He misjudged Jay Payton's leadoff line drive, running in when he should have stayed put, and it sailed over his glove for a double. Payton later scored on Kendall's sacrifice fly.
"I came in after it like it was a low line drive, as opposed to a ball that kept carrying," Brown said.
The Athletics placed RHP Rich Harden on the 15-day disabled list before Friday night's game. Harden has a strained back muscle and is expected to be out three to six weeks. The A's called up LHP Ron Flores from Triple-A Sacramento. ... Oakland OF Milton Bradley, who has not played since Tuesday because of a sore right knee, was held out of the lineup again on Friday. Trainers were worried that wet field conditions could cause Bradley to aggravate the injury. ... Royals CF Shane Costa, filling in while David DeJesus rehabs from a left hamstring strain, pulled his left hamstring hitting a one-out double. German pinch ran for him and stayed on to play center field.
|Players of the Game|
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|Mark Kotsay, CF||5||0||0||0||0||0||2||.250|
|Nick Swisher, LF||4||0||0||0||1||2||4||.316|
|Eric Chavez, 3B||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.282|
|Frank Thomas, DH||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.197|
|Jay Payton, RF||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.183|
|Bobby Crosby, SS||3||1||0||0||1||0||0||.213|
|Dan Johnson, 1B||3||1||1||0||1||1||0||.155|
|Jason Kendall, C||2||1||1||1||1||0||0||.224|
|Mark Ellis, 2B||3||1||2||4||1||1||2||.200|
|2B - Jay Payton (3, Mays), Mark Ellis (4, Mays)|
|HR - Mark Ellis (2, Mays)|
|SF - Jason Kendall (2)|
|RBI - Jason Kendall (6), Mark Ellis 4 (9)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Crosby-Ellis-Johnson|
|Dan Haren (W,1-2)||8||8||2||2||1||6||2||4.84|
|Kiko Calero (H,4)||0.1||1||1||1||2||0||0||2.00|
|Kirk Saarloos (S,1)||0.2||0||0||0||1||1||0||5.54|
|HBP - Buck (by Dan Haren), E. Brown (by Dan Haren)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Dan Haren 116-70, Kiko Calero 23-10, Kirk Saarloos 11-5|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dan Haren 7-10, Kirk Saarloos 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Dan Haren 34, Kiko Calero 4, Kirk Saarloos 3|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Shane Costa, CF||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||.317|
|Esteban German, PR-CF||2||0||1||0||1||0||1||.444|
|Mark Grudzielanek, 2B||4||0||0||0||1||1||4||.291|
|Mike Sweeney, DH||4||1||1||2||1||2||1||.197|
|Tony Graffanino, PR-DH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.207|
|Reggie Sanders, RF||5||1||2||1||0||1||3||.236|
|Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B||5||0||2||0||0||0||4||.262|
|Emil Brown, LF||3||0||1||0||0||0||2||.208|
|Mark Teahen, 3B||3||0||0||0||1||1||3||.220|
|Angel Berroa, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.280|
|John Buck, C||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.205|
|a- Matt Stairs, PH||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.167|
|a-singled for Buck in the 9th|
|2B - Shane Costa (4, Haren), Reggie Sanders (4, Haren), Doug Mientkiewicz (5, Haren)|
|HR - Mike Sweeney (2, Haren), Reggie Sanders (4, Haren)|
|RBI - Mike Sweeney 2 (6), Reggie Sanders (13)|
|2-OUT RBI - Mike Sweeney (1)|
|SB - Emil Brown (3, 2nd base off Haren/Kendall)|
|Team LOB - 11|
|DP - Berroa-Grudzielanek-Mientkiewicz|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Joe Mays (L,0-3)||3.1||4||5||5||5||0||1||11.07|
|WP - Joe Mays (3), Andrew Sisco (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Joe Mays 73-36, Jimmy Gobble 51-33, Luke Hudson 9-7, Andrew Sisco 15-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Mays 5-4, Jimmy Gobble 4-3, Luke Hudson 3-0, Andrew Sisco 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Joe Mays 18, Jimmy Gobble 12, Luke Hudson 3, Andrew Sisco 5|
|Attendance - 12203|
|Game Time - 2:51|
|Temperature - 56|
|Umpires - Home - Andy Fletcher, First Base - Mike Reilly, Second Base - Jeff Kellogg, Third Base - Jerry Meals|