OAKLAND, Calif. -- Brett Anderson just wants to keep pace with the rest of Oakland's pitchers in the rotation. If he does that, he will know he's back on track.
He looked pretty good in his latest start.
Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the sixth inning to back Anderson, and the Athletics beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3 on Wednesday to win the three-game series.
Anderson (3-2) allowed three hits and two runs, struck out four and walked one in seven innings to win for the first time since May 29. It was a solid outing in his second start since coming off his second stint on the DL this year because of inflammation in his throwing elbow.
The left-hander's victory came two days after fellow second-year major leaguer Trevor Cahill pitched a three-hitter in a 6-0 victory over the Royals.
"Hopefully I'll just pitch on par with everybody else on our staff," Anderson said. "It's good to feel part of the team again. It's going to be a work in progress another couple starts but hopefully this is a step in the right direction."
Oakland fell behind 2-0 in the first inning but rallied by taking advantage of two Royals errors in the sixth, when Kurt Suzuki also drove in a run. The A's won their fourth series in six tries since the All-Star break and improved to 6-1 against the Royals this season.
Billy Butler hit a first-inning sacrifice fly and Jose Guillen followed by driving in a run against his former team, before Anderson settled down. He faced the minimum in the second and seventh along with 1-2-3 innings in the third, fifth and sixth.
Yuniesky Betancourt hit a solo homer in the eighth off Craig Breslow. Michael Wuertz struck out the side in order in the ninth for his fourth save in as many tries -- facing the middle of the Royals' lineup to boot.
"I've been kind of joking around with him, 'Finally we've got Wuertz back,"' said Suzuki, the A's catcher. "It's nice to see him have that confidence again like he had last year."
Sean O'Sullivan (1-2) is still looking for his first victory since joining Kansas City. He made his first career start against Oakland and third outing for the Royals since they acquired him from the Angels on July 22.
"We struggled early. I thought some guys were getting frustrated," A's manager Bob Geren said. "It didn't seem like O'Sullivan's stuff was unhittable but we made it look like it was."
Cliff Pennington got things going in the sixth on a single, then Coco Crisp walked. Daric Barton hit a soft single and O'Sullivan fielded the ball and threw wildly past first. Pennington scored from second on the play for Oakland's first run. Suzuki then drove in a run despite reaching on an error by third baseman Mike Aviles.
"I was unable to get the ground ball from Kouzmanoff when I needed it," O'Sullivan said. "It boils down to that. Throwing the ball down the line didn't help either. I rushed it. I make that play 10 out of 10 times. That's what makes it frustrating."
Right fielder Rajai Davis stole a hit from Kila Ka'aihue in the top of the seventh with a running, leaping catch against the wall in the far corner.
Off the bat, it looked like a home run.
"I didn't get it. The wind blew it back in," Ka'aihue said. "I missed it."
Guillen was back in right field for the series finale after a long stretch as designated hitter. Manager Ned Yost believes Guillen is more effective offensively when he's in the field, though he still went 0 for 4 and now is mired in an 0-for-21 funk.
His last hit was a double last Friday against Baltimore, and he was 0 for 11 this series.
Mark Ellis singled in the second to give him a 12-game hitting streak against Kansas City, the club that drafted him.
The teams still play three more times next month in Kansas City. Last year, the A's won the season series 6-2.
Alex Gordon's double that led to him scoring the go-ahead run in the ninth inning of Kansas City's 3-2 win Tuesday was overturned and instead ruled a two-base error. The ball took a bad hop and went through 1B Barton's legs. "I can see that scoring decision being a close one. It could have gone either way," said Oakland manager Bob Geren. ... A's closer Andrew Bailey made about 20 throws from 60 feet and will throw again on flat ground Thursday or Friday. Bailey hasn't pitched since July 20 because of a strained right ribcage muscle. ... Royals C Jason Kendall and 3B Wilson Betemit rested, giving them a two-day break with Thursday's off day. ... Zack Greinke's start Friday for Kansas City at Seattle will mark the pitcher's 200th appearance (159th start). ... The A's raised more than $31,000 for juvenile diabetes research through their annual rootbeer float day. ... Oakland is 16-11 in one-run games. ... Pennington stole his 16th and 17th bases.