KANSAS CITY -- Just awesome.
That's how Dan Straily described the feeling of his first Major League win.
Straily had plenty to talk about. He threw 6 1/3 shutout innings, giving up just three hits in his third career start, while leading the A's to a 3-0 victory over the Royals on Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The 23-year-old right-hander struggled a bit to relay his feelings on his milestone victory.
"It's just kind of one of those moments, I guess, that unless you experience it, I can't think of any words to describe it," Straily said. "It's just awesome."
Straily bounced back from a rough performance in his previous outing, when he gave up five runs on eight hits -- including four home runs -- in just 4 2/3 innings against the Angels on Aug. 8.
There was a tense moment early, though. With one out in the second inning, Royals catcher Salvador Perez lined a single up the middle, and Mike Moustakas walked. Two batters later, Straily walked Eric Hosmer to load the bases. A's pitching coach Curt Young came out to the mound, and the visit did the trick. Straily enticed a groundout from Chris Getz to end the threat, and he proceeded to retire 12 of the final 14 batters he faced.
"[Young] just came out and was like, 'Hey what's going on, guys?'" Straily said. "I was going away from the scouting report a little bit. I wasn't feeling comfortable getting in on lefties right there. I felt that my strength was just to go fastballs away. I called [catcher Derek Norris] out because we just needed to talk about it a little bit. And then [Young] was like, 'Make pitches and get out of this.' He turned around and jogged away, and I made a couple pitches and got out of it."
Got out of it he did, and seven innings later, Straily had his first victory. He took home a couple of souvenirs from the evening, too. He got to keep the lineup card from the dugout and a dozen, newly authenticated baseballs from the game.
"It's huge for himself and for his career," Norris said. "It's something that'll be a huge weight off his shoulders, being his third start. He pitched well in his first start [against the Blue Jays on Aug. 3] to deserve a win, then we ended up giving up the lead later on, so it's great for him. He pitched great. Besides his first outing, I think this is pretty even to what he threw that day. I'm real happy for him, and hopefully he's got a lot more to come."
"I think that was, for me, the best stuff we've seen out of him," manager Bob Melvin said. "You could tell. He had the good first inning and just kind of started rolling on the confidence, and then when Curt went out there and made that mound visit and calmed him down a little bit, he was off to the races after that. This is the stuff we heard and talked about."
Straily, though, wasn't the only pitcher cruising in Thursday night's game. Royals starter Luke Hochevar traded zeros with the rookie throughout the evening, allowing just one hit in the first five innings. But the sixth inning is when the A's finally got to him.
With two outs, Coco Crisp smashed a ball that appeared to hit near the top of the right-field fence before bouncing back to right fielder Jeff Francoeur. Crisp stopped at second base with a double, but the umpires reviewed the play and ruled that the ball had cleared the fence and was, in fact, a home run.
"It felt like we were starting to grind a little harder than we should. You start digging, and it just doesn't feel like anything's going to happen," Melvin said. "That was, at the time, certainly the key hit of the game, and it ended up being the key hit.
"Coco finally got us a run. The way both guys were pitching, it felt like a little bit more than one run at the time."
In the seventh, Yoenis Cespedes launched a 2-2 pitch from Hochevar 402 feet into the left-center field seats. This one did not have to be reviewed and gave the A's a 2-0 lead.
"I fell behind to Coco and made an aggressive pitch, my fastball middle away. He put a good swing on it," Hochevar said. "Then with Cespedes, I threw two fastballs right by him on the outer half. I tried it a third time and he caught it."
The A's added on an insurance run in the eighth, with Jemile Weeks smashing a single up the middle to drive in Norris, who walked and stole second to get into scoring position.
Sean Doolittle -- who relieved Straily in the seventh -- combined with Ryan Cook, Jerry Blevins and Grant Balfour to hold the Royals to just three hits over the final 2 2/3 innings. Balfour worked a perfect ninth for his ninth save.
For Oakland, it was big to salvage a game in the series and capture a victory in the final game of a six-game road trip that ended at 2-4.
"You don't want to go home 1-5," Melvin said. "This is a team that does match up very well against us, and they've pitched us very well. ... They're a difficult team. They have a good lineup all the way through. They have a terrific bullpen. That's a good team. They've battled us all year."
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.