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OAK@KC: A's take early lead with five-run second

KANSAS CITY -- If there was any way for the A's to make amends for a dreadful performance on Saturday, and perhaps take out a dose of frustration stemming from news they have only one All-Star despite leading the American League West, this was the way to do it.

After appearing out of sorts in all facets of its game the day before, Oakland tallied 15 hits and rolled to a 10-4 victory over the Royals in Sunday's rubber game, the club's fourth series win in a row.

The A's head to Pittsburgh for three Interleague games with the Pirates, also in first place in the National League Central, having won eight of their last 11 to go up a season high-tying 15 games over .500.

Sunday's victory perfectly displayed the type of team effort the A's need to win ballgames, the type of team effort they believe is maybe why they do only have one All-Star in Bartolo Colon.

"It's nice to make the All-Star team and everything," said starter A.J. Griffin, "but at the same time we're a big family here and we have our eyes set on the goal of the Fall Classic rather than the Midsummer Classic. We're just trying to continue to play good baseball as a team and not worry about stuff like that."

Griffin's seventh win of the season would not have been possible without righty Jesse Chavez, who saved the bullpen with four scoreless innings and his first Major League save.

Josh Reddick was the biggest offensive contributor, collecting four RBIs to finish with seven in the three-game set, accounting for a chunk of the club's 19 runs over the three-day span. His two-run shot to right field in the third was the first of three long balls belted by the A's, who also got homers from Jed Lowrie and Eric Sogard.

For Lowrie, whose sixth-inning shot off southpaw Will Smith was of the solo variety, it was his sixth of the year but first off a lefty. And for Sogard, who hit the first pitch he saw from Smith in the seventh to right field for a two-run homer, it was his first since April 28, 2012.

"It definitely felt like I hadn't done it in awhile," said a smiling Sogard. "It felt good just to run the bases, and the guys greeted me nicely in the dugout. No homer tunnel, but no silent treatment. Everyone was on the top step. They were probably just so surprised I hit one out that they didn't know what to do."

Then there was the five-run second against starter Luis Mendoza, who exited the frame after two outs, that really propelled the A's.

Oakland sent 10 men to the plate, getting RBI doubles from Reddick and Sogard, along with back-to-back run-scoring singles by Coco Crisp and Lowrie. By game's end, every starter reached base via hit or walk.

"Yesterday was a game we thought we should have won and it didn't go our way, and we came back today and, one through nine, our guys kept putting up hits," Sogard said. "That's something our team takes pride in, having good at-bats like that, and a lot of them were with two outs."

It provided plenty of support for Griffin, whose two runs allowed over five innings resulted off homers from former batterymate George Kottaras and Alex Gordon. Griffin offered up five hits and walked one with four strikeouts while utilizing 105 pitches.

Lefty Jerry Blevins was responsible for giving up Kansas City's final two runs in the sixth. Blevins didn't retire any of the three batters he faced, before Chavez's entrance with two men on, and he has now given up nine runs in his last 11 outings.

Chavez allowed one inherited runner to score but nothing more, and he went on to finish the game, allowing just three hits with one walk and four strikeouts, becoming the first Oakland reliever with a four-inning save since Chad Gaudin on May 4, 2006, against Cleveland.

"It's pretty cool," Chavez said, smiling. "Not too bad."

"Jesse was outstanding today," Griffin said. "He came in there, threw strikes, was aggressive. He was fun to watch, especially after you only go five innings as a starter. It's just good to see your bullpen go out there and get the job done."

Added Reddick: "He's played the perfect role for us whenever we can't get our starter to where we want to be. He's really turned it on and come in and gotten out of a lot of jams, and save our bullpen when we need him to. Today was another great example of that."

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