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KC@OAK: Perez singles to end Moscoso's no-hit bid

OAKLAND -- Guillermo Moscoso, an Oakland Athletics rookie right-hander, was facing Kansas City for the first time and when there were two outs in the eighth inning, one thing hadn't changed. The Royals still didn't have their first hit against him.

That's when Royals rookie Salvador Perez lined a single into right field to end Moscoso's no-hit bid. Moscoso exited with two outs in the ninth, giving up just two hits in the A's 7-0 victory on Wednesday afternoon for the benefit of a small gathering at the Coliseum.

"No one wants to get no-hit, but it kind of stinks when you're cheering for one hit and it's the only exciting play of the day," said the Royals' Alex Gordon. "At least we didn't get no-hit, but it was just a tough day."

Gordon lined a single to right field in the ninth inning for the Royals' second hit. With two outs, Billy Butler's hot smash couldn't be handled by third baseman Scott Sizemore, who also threw wildly to first for a two-error play. Moscoso was replaced by Faustino De Los Santos, who got the last out with one pitch.

"He was throwing four pitches and painting with all four," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "His fastball had nice hop at the end, nice slurve, nice little tight slider and a pretty darn good changeup."

Perez came up in the eighth inning after Moscoso had notched his fourth strikeout and belted a 2-2 pitch from his fellow Venezuelan.

"He made a mistake -- he wanted that ball in the dirt and he left it up a little bit and I hit the ball hard," Perez said.

Moscoso claimed he wasn't dwelling on his no-hit prospects, but he had seen the Royals pound out 27 hits and score 18 runs in beating the A's in the first two games of the series.

: "No, I wasn't thinking about it," he said. "They showed the last two games what they can do, but it just made me focus and make quality pitches. I don't think about that, just try to finish strong, and that's what I did."

Moscoso came within four outs of pitching only the third no-hitter against the Royals in their franchise history. The first was by Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan on May 15, 1973, in the California Angels' 3-0 victory at Kansas City. The second didn't come until May 19, 2008, when left-hander Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox no-hit the Royals in a 7-0 win at Fenway Park.

Moscoso had a perfect game going through 5 2/3 innings. That gave him a string of 30 consecutive batters retired, going back to the last 13 against Seattle on Friday, to set an Oakland record. The old mark was 29 straight batters shared by Dallas Braden in 2010 and Catfish Hunter in 1968, each streak centered on their perfect games.

It ended there, however, because Moscoso walked the next batter, Alcides Escobar, on four pitches. That was his only walk of the day.

The A's gave him an early lead and kept adding on.

A jarring collision in the first inning gave the Royals a scare but their prized rookie catcher, Perez, came out of it unscathed except for a bump behind his left ear and one on his left elbow.

"I was [dizzy] for a little bit, a couple of seconds," Perez said.

Jemile Weeks led off the inning with a single and Coco Crisp doubled down the right-field line. Weeks tried to score, but Jeff Francoeur's throw was relayed by second baseman Johnny Giavotella to Perez in the nick of time. As Perez pivoted for the tag, Weeks crashed into him. Perez held the ball for the out and, though shaken, stayed in the game after being examined by the team trainer.

"He's fine, a tough kid," Yost said. "We're going to have to work on his blocking-the-plate technique a little bit. He just kind of threw his body in there."

Crisp stole third base, just beating Perez's throw for his 40th stolen base, and scored on Josh Willingham's sacrifice fly.

Royals starting pitcher Bruce Chen got more help from Francoeur in the second inning, when the right fielder surprised A's rookie Michael Taylor by throwing him out after fielding his line drive. It was the rare 9-3 scoring entry, the first by a Royals right fielder at least as far as records go back, 1974.

Left fielder Gordon, however, had problems defensively. In the fourth inning, he seemed to have Taylor's high fly for the third out but as he neared the wall, the ball dropped off his glove. Kurt Suzuki, who had singled, scored and Gordon was charged with an error.

"I had it all the way. I had to go to my left and it was creeping into the sun and at the last minute it did and I just stuck my glove where I thought it was going to go. It hit my glove but. ..." Gordon said. "The next one, same thing. I just ran over there and it went in the sun right away and I just stood there as long as I could and I was hoping it was going to come out, and it didn't happen."

That was in the fifth inning, when, with two outs and two on, Sizemore hit a high fly to left that plummeted untouched dangerously close to Gordon's face. First time he saw the ball, it was on the ground and two runs had scored on what turned into a double.

So the sunny afternoon belonged to the A's and to Moscoso but Francoeur managed to see a bright side for the Royals, too.

"We came in, took two out of three, we didn't get no-hit and we're getting out of here," he said. Comments