Strictly a reliever last season and forced into starting duty this year because of injuries to Esteban Loaiza and Rich Harden, Gaudin struck out a career-high eight and the Athletics beat the Kansas City Royals 6-1 on Tuesday night.
Gaudin (2-1) pitched eight innings, holding the Royals to five hits. He allowed just one hit after the fourth inning and lowered his ERA to 2.40, fourth in the American League.
"For a guy that is supposedly filling in a hole, he's kind of our silent unsung hero," said Eric Chavez, who had three hits. "He's done well. Hopefully, it's a tough decision to leave him there (the rotation) the whole year because he's deserving of it."
Gaudin said it was the best game of his career.
"It's not the best stuff I ever had, but it was good enough for today," Gaudin said. "I had pretty good life on my fastball and the slider was pretty good. Most of the time, I was ahead of the hitter. I just kept telling myself, attack the hitters and let them get themselves out."
The A's, who won back-to-back games for the first time since April 23-24 at Baltimore, improved to 28-6 at Kauffman Stadium since the beginning of the 2000 season. The Royals have lost four straight and are 2-6 on the 10-game homestand, their longest of the season.
"The last four games have been discouraging to say the least," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "Gaudin pitched a great game. He had good stuff, give him some credit. He was around the strike zone most of the evening.
"Offensively, we just can't seem to get it going and when you can't do things offensively, you look flat."
The A's, who started the game hitting .235, had 13 hits, matching their season high. They also tied their season high with five doubles.
"We've been pretty bad," Chavez said. "We're not going to be this bad all year. We have a better offense than we've been doing. Hopefully, we can maintain scoring some runs. I hit the ball hard four times and that's encouraging."
Johnson left after taking Ross Gload's grounder off his right thumb to end the sixth inning. He was taken for X-rays, which were negative.
"Scoring six runs for our pitchers is a bunch," Johnson said. "It was good to come out and get some runs off a very good pitcher. We just got some timely hits. We got into good hitter's counts and capitalized on it."
Jorge De La Rosa (3-3), who entered the game with an AL-best 0.82 home ERA, was roughed up for six runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings. His home ERA jumped to 2.39.
"His curveball wasn't as good as it has been," Royals catcher Jason LaRue said. "He was more erratic tonight."
Mark Teahen had three hits for Kansas City.
Swisher scored the A's first run in the second inning. An inning later, he singled to right with two outs, scoring Mark Ellis and Chavez and giving the A's a 3-0 lead.
Billy Butler dropped Ellis' fly in the fourth, allowing Snelling to score an unearned run, upping the A's advantage to 4-1.
Johnson and Crosby hit back-to-back doubles in the fifth to chase De La Rosa. Crosby advanced to third on Jimmy Gobble's balk and scored on Jason Kendall's sacrifice fly.
Teahen's triple to center in the third scored David DeJesus, who had singled, for the only Kansas City run.
- The Royals have moved RHP Zack Greinke, who was 1-4 with a 5.71 ERA in seven starts, to the bullpen.
- DH Mike Sweeney grounded into his seventh double play in the sixth.
- The A's have outscored their opponents 69-33 in the first four innings.
- Kendall, who went 0-for-4 and grounded into two double plays, is hitless in his past 14 at-bats.
- Gaudin has given up more than five hits in only one of his seven starts.