Cliff Pennington made up for an early blunder with a pair of key doubles to lead the A's to a 9-4 victory over the league-worst Kansas City Royals.
After the A's took an early lead on a Tommy Everidge single, Pennington helped to give it back. With two Royals on base in the bottom of the second, the recently-promoted shortstop bobbled a double-play grounder just enough to prolong the inning (though he was not charged with an error). One batter later the game was squared at one on a base hit by Yuniesky Betancourt to score Mark Teahen.
Pennington partially repaid his debt with a double leading off the third, eventually scoring on a short sacrifice fly by Rajai Davis, to give the A's a 2-1 lead.
Kurt Suzuki preserved the slim advantage with some gorgeous glove work in the Royals' next turn at bat. Teahen's two-out single with two men on threatened to tie the game, but Suzuki reached high and wide to field Ryan Sweeney's throw to the plate, and tagged a surprised Billy Butler as he tried to score to end the inning.
The A's broke it open in the fourth. Brian Bannister bounced a wild pitch to bring in Jack Cust who had singled to start the frame, went to second on a passed ball, and took third on a groundball out by Suzuki. Everidge walked, and Mark Ellis followed a Sweeney out with a single.
Then Pennington took over.
His second two-bagger of the night went to nearly the same spot as the first, over the head of Teahen in right, as Everidge and Ellis scored easily. Kennedy walked, and Davis legged out an infield knock to load the bases, bringing up Scott Hairston, whose seeing-eye single plated Pennington and AK to make it 7-1.
Staked to a large lead, starter Vin Mazzaro hardly shut ‘em down, allowing an RBI-triple to David DeJesus, his league-leading seventh three-base hit of the season.
Kansas City crept closer with a run in the latter half of the fifth, but Everidge dove to spear a would-be hit to keep the score at 7-3, ending Mazarro's night. The young right-hander flirted with danger throughout the evening, but allowed only three of the dozen runners that reached base against him (four walks, eight hits) to score. Overall, there were 25 hits in the contest, eleven by the A's. The Royals left twelve men on base.
So enamored was Pennington with second base that he singled in the sixth, stole that sweet bag, and snuggled with it while Kennedy and Davis struck out.
Santiago Casilla took over for Mazzaro and promptly surrendered back-to-back two baggers, bringing the Royals to within 7-4.
They would draw no closer.
Ryan Sweeney's no-doubt-about-it homerun in the eighth and Hairston's RBI double in the ninth concluded the scoring while Craig Bleslow, Michael Wuertz, and Jeff Gray teamed to keep the Royals from making a game of it.