OAKLAND (AP) — Billy Butler enjoyed this game at Oakland Coliseum very much.
Butler homered twice and drove in three runs, Alex Gordon doubled home the go-ahead run and the Kansas City Royals scored five times in the ninth inning to beat the Athletics 11-6 on Monday.
Jeff Francoeur, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas had two RBIs apiece and Melky Cabrera also drove in a run for the Royals, who avoided being mathematically eliminated for at least one more day.
In 19 previous games in Oakland, Butler was 13 for 63, a .206 hitter, with no home runs and six RBIs.
“Who does say they like hitting here?” Butler laughed. “The ball carries better during the day, but that’s usually true everywhere. Some days you’re going to get them and some days you’re going to miss them. I got some good pitches to hit and didn’t miss.”
Butler, who finished with three hits, has been on a tear over the past week. He’s hit safely in six straight and has a .417 batting average over that stretch.
“It just shows we’re getting better offensively as a team,” Butler said. “When you look at all the positions, these are guys we’re going with next year and it’s been good.”
Scott Sizemore hit a three-run homer for the A’s, who had won four straight. David DeJesus, Josh Willingham and Kurt Suzuki each drove in a run.
Butler hit a tying two-run shot off Craig Breslow in the seventh, and the Royals broke it open against closer Andrew Bailey (0-4) in the ninth.
“We have a pretty good offense,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We keep tacking on runs. Billy is having a great offensive year and he’s doing it all. He’s driving in runs, hitting with power and hitting the ball the other way.”
Salvador Perez sparked the winning rally with a leadoff single and was replaced by Chris Getz. After Alcides Escobar flied out, Gordon doubled to right and scored on Melky Cabrera’s single to give Kansas City an 8-6 lead.
“I was just trying to make contact,” Gordon said. “He threw me a good pitch, down and away, and I somehow barreled it.”
Bailey said he wasn’t sure he could have done much else against Gordon.
“Looking back at it, a couple first-pitch fastballs that were well located that they just put in play, and Gordon got that one fair,” he said. “You just have to tip your cap to that one. It probably would end up a ball.”
Neil Wagner replaced Bailey and walked Butler before Hosmer added an RBI double. Moustakas capped the scoring with a two-out, two-run single and was cut down trying to advance to second on the play.
“They’re swinging hot bats right now,” Bailey said. “I know they’ve got a bunch of guys that hit .300 and hit home runs. That’s the start of a winning team. From here on out they’re going to be a pretty good team in the AL and definitely compete in the next couple of years.”
Greg Holland (4-1) pitched a scoreless eighth to get the victory.
A’s starter Rich Harden struck out 10 in five innings, but was charged with four runs and eight hits. He had eight Ks through three innings.
Kansas City starter Felipe Paulino also went five innings, allowing four hits and a season-high six runs. He issued a career-high six walks while striking out four.
Paulino, who was scratched from his last start with back spasms, has walked 22 hitters in his last 27 innings. He walked 19 in his previous 73 innings.
The Royals hit .325 on their last road trip and they picked up where they left off, scoring three times in the first inning, two on Francoeur’s single.
Scott Sizemore’s homer gave the A’s a 4-3 edge in the second.
Suzuki singled in a run just ahead of Sizemore.
Butler hit a solo shot in the third but Willingham put the A’s ahead again with an RBI single in the fifth. DeJesus followed with a sacrifice fly.
Everett Teaford helped the Royals stay in the game, pitching 2 2-3 scoreless innings in relief of Paulino.
NOTES: Hosmer extended his road hitting streak to 14 games with an RBI double in the first inning. … A’s OF Coco Crisp missed his second game with a sore right foot, though manager Bob Melvin said it’s getting better. … Oakland OF Michael Taylor is expected to be in the lineup both Tuesday and Wednesday against left-handers. … LHP Danny Duffy goes for the Royals on Tuesday. He averages 7.55 strikeouts per nine innings, third all-time among Kansas City rookie pitchers with at least 15 starts. He makes his third straight road start and is 2-2 with a 5.88 ERA away from home. … LHP Gio Gonzalez will start for the A’s on Tuesday night. The All-Star has won three consecutive starts and has a 2.18 ERA over that span. He’s striking out an average of 8.95 batters per nine innings, which would be a franchise record.
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