Oakland at Kansas City

Kansas City
W: T. Milone (8-7) L: W. Davis (4-7) S: G. Balfour (22)
HR: OAK - None   KC - None

Balfour ties A's club record with 40th straight save

CBSSports.com wire reports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tommy Milone shut out the Kansas City Royals for eight innings, and then got in just enough trouble in the ninth to ensure that Grant Balfour would have a nice, easy save chance.

A save that will go down in Oakland history, too.

Balfour gave up a run-scoring single to Billy Butler before retiring the final two batters of the game Friday night, preserving the Oakland A's 6-3 victory and notching his 40th consecutive save to tie Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley's franchise record.

"You know, it's an accomplishment. Definitely," Balfour said. "I don't like to look into it too much -- I'm superstitious, obviously. But I never knew about this, and it's not something I set out to do. It just happened. I still have a lot of work to do."

Balfour has 22 saves this season to match the mark that Eckersley set from Sept. 15, 1991, to Aug. 7, 1992, this one helping the A's (51-36) win for the seventh time in their last nine games.

"That's pretty remarkable, but when you look at Grant, it's not surprising what he's able to do," Milone said. "That's pretty cool for him. I'm happy."

Happy enough to get into trouble in the ninth for him?

"We can go there if you want," Milone said, grinning. "Yeah, I guess."

Milone (8-7) was in control before Alcides Escobar and Eric Hosmer drove in runs to get the Royals within 6-2 with one out in the ninth. Balfour came on and gave up the single to Butler, but he managed to retire Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas to end the game.

"Like him, I don't like to talk about it a whole lot, but you're asking me the question," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Balfour's save streak. "Pretty phenomenal."

Milone, who had been battered in his last three starts, outpitched Wade Davis (4-7) in another strong night from Oakland's pitching staff. The A's had put together 18 1/3 innings without giving up a run before the Royals plated their three in the ninth.

Milone was two outs shy of racking up Oakland's third shutout in its last eight games.

"A tough eight innings. Tommy Milone was really on top of his game," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "What makes him so tough on nights like tonight, he can command his fastball to both sides of the plate, but when that change-up is on, it's almost unhittable."

The recent history for Milone and Davis pointed to runs-a-plenty on Friday night. Milone had been struggling lately, and Davis was yanked after one-plus inning last Saturday.

So naturally, the two of them took turns mowing through hitters.

Milone retired his first 11 batters, and only twice allowed a ball to get out of the infield through the first three innings. The left-hander finally gave up a single to Hosmer with two outs in the fourth, but that was it until David Lough's two-out single in the sixth.

"We were just trying to take pitches and try to see as many pitches as possible," said the Royals' Lorenzo Cain, "but he was pounding the zone."

Davis only needed 10 pitches to get through the first inning against Oakland, and the right-hander set down nine straight before Josh Reddick's double in the third. Eric Sogard came through with a timely single to shallow left field that gave the scrappy A's a 1-0 lead.

Davis cruised through the fourth and then issued a leadoff walk to John Jaso in the fifth. Reddick followed with a triple to right, and he scampered home on Coco Crisp's sacrifice fly.

The A's added three more in the ninth, two of them when Cain misplayed a line drive in right field that bounced off his glove -- "I just flat-out missed it," he said.

The Royals tried to rally in the ninth behind back-to-back doubles by Lough and Escobar, and consecutive singles by Hosmer and Butler. But the unflappable Balfour got Cain and Moustakas on harmless groundouts to record his historic save.

"I hope you're not jinxing him by talking about it," Reddick said with a smile.


  • Royals OF Alex Gordon passed his concussion tests after colliding with the wall while trying to make a catch Wednesday night. He could return this weekend.
  • The Royals requested unconditional release waivers on OF Jeff Francoeur, who was designated for assignment June 30. LHP Francisley Bueno accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Omaha.
  • A's LHP Brett Anderson plans to play catch Saturday after a CT scan cleared him to begin walking on his right foot without a boot. He's been on the DL with a stress fracture since May 1.
  • RHP Jarrod Parker will start Saturday for Oakland against Royals RHP Ervin Santana.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
Players of the Game

J. Reddick
AB 3
R 3
H 2
HR 0
Kansas City

D. Lough
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0

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Oakland Athletics
Coco Crisp, CF4013011 .269
Seth Smith, DH5000022 .273
Jed Lowrie, SS4000010 .297
Josh Donaldson, 3B4010010 .313
Brandon Moss, 1B4120021 .236
Yoenis Cespedes, LF4010002 .221
John Jaso, C3210102 .272
Josh Reddick, RF3322010 .217
Eric Sogard, 2B4011013 .257
2B - Josh Reddick (11, Davis)
3B - Josh Reddick (2, Davis)
SF - Coco Crisp (5), Josh Reddick (3)
RBI - Coco Crisp 3 (33), Josh Reddick 2 (27), Eric Sogard (10)
2-OUT RBI - Coco Crisp 2 (10)
SB - Brandon Moss (2, 2nd base off Gutierrez/Perez)
Team LOB - 5
Oakland Athletics
Tommy Milone (W,8-7) 8.1633040 4.11
Grant Balfour (S,22) 0.2100000 1.82
Pitches-Strikes - Tommy Milone 101-71, Grant Balfour 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tommy Milone 10-11, Grant Balfour 2-0
Batters Faced - Tommy Milone 31, Grant Balfour 3
Kansas City Royals
David Lough, LF4120000 .299
Alcides Escobar, SS4111011 .247
Eric Hosmer, 1B4121000 .284
Billy Butler, DH4010001 .278
Salvador Perez, C4011000 .306
Lorenzo Cain, RF4000011 .258
Mike Moustakas, 3B4000012 .211
Johnny Giavotella, 2B3000010 .176
Jarrod Dyson, CF3000000 .234
2B - David Lough (10, Milone), Alcides Escobar (13, Milone)
RBI - Alcides Escobar (26), Eric Hosmer (37), Salvador Perez (36)
Team LOB - 4
E - Lorenzo Cain (2, Dropped fly)
Kansas City Royals
Wade Davis (L,4-7) 7633180 5.42
Tim Collins 1000010 3.90
J.C. Gutierrez 1331000 3.76
Pitches-Strikes - Wade Davis 103-66, Tim Collins 10-6, J.C. Gutierrez 20-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wade Davis 3-10, Tim Collins 2-0
Batters Faced - Wade Davis 28, Tim Collins 3, J.C. Gutierrez 7
Game Information
Attendance - 35518
Game Time - 2:31
Temperature - 87
Umpires - Home - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - Marty Foster, Third Base - Eric Cooper