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KC@OAK: Mendoza gives up one run in 5 2/3 innings

OAKLAND -- The Royals had never seen Oakland left-hander Tommy Milone before, but they sure won't forget him.

Milone, obtained from Washington in the Gio Gonzalez trade, shut out the Royals for eight innings on three hits and the Athletics notched a 1-0 victory on Monday night at the Coliseum.

Right-hander Grant Balfour worked the ninth to close out the Royals, who were held without a hit for the last six innings.

This was the first A's start for the 25-year-old Milone.

"He did a fantastic job of keeping the ball off the barrel of our bats," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He did it by changing speeds, changing locations in-and-out. We had two opportunities, two leadoff doubles, and couldn't capitalize, but outside of that we couldn't center him up."

The Royals got a solid start for the fourth time in their four games this season as right-hander Luis Mendoza held the A's to one run in his 5 2/3 innings.

The A's had a chance for a big inning in the second, but settled for the game's only run. Seth Smith got a one-out infield single and Kurt Suzuki walked. Daric Barton rapped into a forceout. Smith moved to third and then scored on Josh Donaldson's single to right field.

"It was a sinker around the middle and he just went to the other side," Mendoza said. "But overall I think I pitched good."

Mendoza held on after Barton advanced to third on a wild pitch and Cliff Pennington walked to load the bases. Second baseman Chris Getz went behind the bag to snare Jemile Weeks' bid for a hit and flipped to Alcides Escobar for a forceout that ended the threat.

The A's again loaded the bases in the sixth after Mendoza got two outs but couldn't score. Smith walked and Suzuki singled, prompting a call to left-hander Tim Collins from the bullpen. Collins walked Barton to fill 'em up, but struck out Donaldson to snuff it.

Jason Bourgeois, who was filling in for Alex Gordon on Monday night, had the advantage of seeing Milone last year in the National League.

"I had a chance to face him last year and he spots his cutter well inside to righties, and he mixes it up and keeps you off-balance," Bourgeois said. "He didn't leave a lot over the plate for us today."

But Bourgeois opened the game with a double to left-center. When Lorenzo Cain flied out to Josh Reddick in right field, Bourgeois decided to put his speed to use, tagged up and fled to third.

"I had to challenge him right there, trying to get in scoring position," Bourgeois said. "I knew he probably had a good chance because he had time to get under the ball with his timing. But he put it right on the money."

Did he ever. Reddick's throw carried on the fly precisely to third baseman Donaldson's glove and Bourgeois became part of a double play.

"That's an inning-changer," Milone said. "Obviously Reddick has a good arm and made a good throw, and after that we got rolling."

A's manager Bob Melvin pointed out that if Bourgeois had been safe, he'd have probably played his infield back and a ground ball would've gotten the Royals a run. But Reddick's throw eliminated that possibility.

"You lose sight of those as the game goes along, but that's as big a play as any," Melvin said.

The Royals got another double from Yuniesky Betancourt in the second inning, but that came with two out and nothing developed. A better chance came when Escobar led off the third with a double, but he languished there as Milone retired the next three batters.

In the fourth, two more Royals were thrown out on the bases, both after drawing walks. Eric Hosmer was gunned down trying to steal third and Jeff Francoeur was caught breaking off first base and thrown out.

"That's the way we play. We play aggressive and we play to win. We don't play safe, we pick our spots but give them credit, they executed," Yost said.

So the Royals, fired up after winning the opening series against the Angels, couldn't even score a run. But, come to think of it, they also were shut out in the first game at Anaheim and came back to win the next two.

"We'll see if we can repeat that," Hosmer said.

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