Bannister solid, but Royals fall to A's

Bannister solid, but Royals fall to A's

at Phoenix Municipal Stadium
Monday, March 17

Royals at the plate: Kansas City's offense was stifled until the eighth inning by A's pitchers. In the eighth, the Royals got a single from Tony Pena Jr., a double by Joey Gathright, an RBI double by Mike Aviles and an RBI groundout by Alex Gordon.

A's at the plate: Oakland took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning, which Dan Johnson opened with a double. Bobby Crosby drove home Johnson with a one-out double, and Donnie Murphy's two-out double capped the rally. The lead was pushed to 3-0 in the fifth when Ryan Sweeney drew a two-out walk, took second on a ball in the dirt and scored on a single by Mark Ellis. Justin Knoedler padded the lead in the eighth with an RBI single before two more runs scored when Murphy's bases-loaded grounder to shortstop was misfired to second base. The A's won their seventh in a row to improve their Cactus League-best record by matching their longest spring winning streak since 2004.

Royals on the mound: Right-hander Brian Bannister gave up six hits over five innings, but four of them were doubles. He allowed three earned runs, leaving his Cactus League ERA at 8.49 over three starts.

A's on the mound: Rookie lefty Dana Eveland strengthened his case for the No. 5 spot in the Oakland starting rotation by holding Kansas City to three hits in five scoreless innings. He lowered his Cactus League ERA to 1.20 over 15 innings in four starts. Eveland was followed into the game by righty Chad Gaudin, who looked sharp in his Cactus League debut. Gaudin, who underwent hip and foot surgery in December, retired all six batters he faced, striking out one. Keith Foulke allowed two earned runs in his third spring outing and has a Cactus League ERA of 12.00.

Cactus League records: Royals 10-9; A's 15-5.

Up next for the Royals: The Royals will travel to Mesa, Ariz., on Tuesday to take on the Cubs. Left-hander John Bale, who has allowed four earned runs over nine innings in three spring starts, will start for Kansas City opposite Chicago right-hander Jason Marquis in a 3:05 p.m. CT game.

Up next for the A's: The Athletics will travel to Surprise, Ariz., on Tuesday to face the Rangers for the second time in three days. The start will go to right-hander Justin Duchscherer, who is slotted into the No. 3 spot in the A's starting rotation and is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two Cactus League appearances. Oakland had an off-day on Duchscherer's previous day to pitch, so he threw in a Triple-A game last Thursday and held a team of Angels prospects scoreless over four innings.

Mychael Urban is a national writer for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.