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Kansas City (65-54) «00201000x370

Vargas tosses 3-hitter as Royals beat A's 3-0

By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer
  •  

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The crowd roared as Jason Vargas emerged from the dugout for the ninth inning, the Kansas City Royals trying to hold onto a 3-0 lead over the Oakland Athletics in a matchup of playoff hopefuls.

Five pitches later, the crowd roared even louder.

Vargas finished off his three-hitter with a flourish, breezing through the A's for his sixth career shutout. It was the second shutout by Kansas City starters in the past week and the third complete game over that stretch, a big reason why the Royals are leading the AL Central.

''That's what we want to do if we want to keep playing,'' said Vargas, who was making just his third start since going on the disabled list for an emergency appendectomy.

Vargas (9-5) retired the final 23 batters he faced, helping the Royals bounce back from having an eight-game winning streak snapped. They maintained their half-game lead over Detroit.

''If it's the first pitch or sixth pitch, you've got to be ready for contact for a pitch to show up in your area,'' said Josh Donaldson, who had one of the A's three hits. ''He did a good job of keeping us off balance all night.''

Omar Infante hit a two-run homer and Salvador Perez drove in the other run off Scott Kazmir (13-5), who lost to Kansas City for the second time in 10 days.

Vargas allowed four runs over 4 1-3 innings against Oakland in his first start off the disabled list, and two runs over five innings against San Francisco his last time out. But on a mild evening at the K, he looked like the dominant left-hander of earlier this season.

Mixing his pitches and catching the corners, Vargas wiggled out of a jam in the first inning and gave up a single leading off the second before muzzling Oakland the rest of the way.

Vargas needed only 92 pitches over eight innings, so manager Ned Yost sent him out for the ninth rather than turn it over to All-Star closer Greg Holland. Five pitches later, he had his first shutout since last September, when he beat Oakland 3-0 as a member of the Angels.

''He got back to being how he was,'' Yost said.

Meanwhile, the Royals were giving Vargas more than enough offense.

After leaving runners on the corners in the first, Kansas City broke through in the third when Nori Aoki cracked a one-out single and Infante sent a 2-0 pitch into the left-field bullpen. It was his sixth homer of the season and his first since June 27.

The Royals left another runner on third in the fourth, but managed to manufacture a run in the fifth. Christian Colon led off with a single, Aoki laid down a sacrifice bunt and Infante managed to beat the throw on an infield single before Perez hit a lazy sacrifice fly to right field.

Kazmir wound up allowing seven hits and a walk over seven innings.

''You just have to keep after it,'' A's manager Bob Melvin said. ''At times, you're going to get well-pitched games against you and today was one of those. I don't think our approach was any worse today than it was yesterday. It was counteracted by a guy that pitched a great game.''

TURN OUT THE LIGHTS

The game lasted 2 hours, 6 minutes, the shortest for Kansas City since Sept. 10, 2011.

LEFTY HUNTER

Aoki went 2 for 3 against Kazmir, raising his average to .358 against left-handers this season. Kansas City is also 29-9 in games in which he scores.

A'S SHUTOUTS

Oakland has been shut out six times this season, twice by the Royals. The Rangers' Martin Perez and the Tigers' Rick Porcello have thrown shutouts.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: SS Jed Lowrie remained in the lineup despite a fractured right index finger. ... 1B Kyle Blanks (calf strain) planned to play at Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday as he rehabs.

Royals: 1B Eric Hosmer will have an X-ray Thursday on the broken bone in his right hand to determine whether he is ready to start rehabbing it. He's been out since July 31.

UP NEXT

Athletics: Jeff Samardzija makes his second career appearance against Kansas City, the first a relief appearance in a 3-2 loss on Jun 25, 2011, when he was still with the Cubs.

Royals: James Shields is coming off his first shutout with the Royals, a 5-0 win over San Francisco. He carried a shutout into the sixth in a win over Oakland on Aug. 3.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Kansas City

J. Vargas
IP 9.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 0
K 4
Kansas City

O. Infante
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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Oakland Athletics
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLG
Coco Crisp, CF4000000.260.363.395
Sam Fuld, LF4000010.261.346.349
Josh Donaldson, 3B3010000.256.341.476
Jonny Gomes, DH3010000.238.328.350
Derek Norris, C3000012.285.380.456
Jed Lowrie, SS3010000.238.317.354
Nate Freiman, 1B3000011.200.256.375
Josh Reddick, RF3000010.256.308.419
Alberto Callaspo, 2B3000000.231.301.299
Scott Kazmir, P0000000.000.000.000
   Jesse Chavez, P0000000.000.000.000
Totals2903004    
Batting
2B - Josh Donaldson (21, Vargas)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
DP - Callaspo-Lowrie-Freiman, Callaspo-Lowrie-Freiman-Donaldson-Callaspo-Freiman
E - Coco Crisp (3, Misplayed grounder), Scott Kazmir (3, Throwing)
Oakland Athletics
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Scott Kazmir (L,13-5) 7733131 2.78
Jesse Chavez 1000100 3.40
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 98-66, Jesse Chavez 13-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 8-9, Jesse Chavez 1-1
Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 28, Jesse Chavez 3
Kansas City Royals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLG
Norichika Aoki, RF3120000.273.343.341
   Jarrod Dyson, CF0000000.286.335.342
Omar Infante, 2B3122101.260.300.362
Salvador Perez, C3001002.267.306.413
Billy Butler, 1B4010001.275.323.385
Alex Gordon, LF3000022.278.353.432
Josh Willingham, DH2010100.213.347.404
Lorenzo Cain, CF-RF3000002.297.336.408
Alcides Escobar, SS3000012.277.311.369
Christian Colon, 3B3110000.318.318.545
   Mike Moustakas, 3B0000000.199.261.388
Jason Vargas, P0000000.000.000.000
Totals2737323    
Batting
HR - Omar Infante (6, Kazmir)
SF - Salvador Perez (2)
SH - Norichika Aoki (5)
RBI - Omar Infante 2 (53), Salvador Perez (50)
SB - Josh Willingham (2, 2nd base off Kazmir/Norris)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Colon-Infante-Butler
Kansas City Royals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jason Vargas (W,9-5) 9300040 3.27
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Vargas 97-65
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Vargas 7-15
Batters Faced - Jason Vargas 29
Game Information
Attendance - 21099
Game Time - 2:06
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Tom Hallion, First Base - Hal Gibson, Second Base - Chris Guccione, Third Base - Eric Cooper