JANIE McCAULEY,AP Baseball Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – James Shields pitched great against the Oakland Athletics again. This time, he had nothing to show for it with his new team.
Shields matched his season best with nine strikeouts in eight innings, allowing late solo home runs to Josh Donaldson and Adam Rosales in the Kansas City Royals’ 2-1 loss to the A’s on Friday night.
Oakland finally got to Shields, who tossed his 21st career complete game nearly 10 months after the right-hander pitched a three-hit shutout here last July 31 for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Rosales hit a go-ahead home run leading off the eighth inning after Donaldson connected one inning earlier. Shields dropped to 0-2 with a 1.50 ERA in May.
“It’s a tough loss right there. A real tough loss,” Shields said. “It was just a case of me not doing my job out there, whatever the score was.”
Salvador Perez hit a one-out double in the third, and David Lough knocked him home two batters later. But the Royals did little else in support of Shields.
Lough drove in the long Royals run just hours after his promotion from the minors, and also made a great throw to get Brandon Moss at second as he tried to stretch a leadoff single in the fourth.
“It kind of got caught in the lights a little bit,” Lough said. “Once it came down I just expected he would go for two. It was in the gap. I just kind of turned and made a good throw.”
After Lorenzo Cain drew a two-out walk in the fourth, A’s starter Jarrod Parker retired his next eight batters in order before Cain drew another free pass in the seventh.
Lough batted leadoff and played right field after his promotion from Triple-A Omaha to take the spot of center fielder Jarrod Dyson, placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right ankle.
His two-out double in the third put Kansas City ahead. The Royals lead the majors in batting average with two outs.
Still, Kansas City stumbled in the series opener after taking two of three against the Angels in Anaheim. Before that, the Royals were swept at home by the New York Yankees.
Shields has had some memorable outings in the Coliseum, most recently that gem last summer for the Rays. That came after he was tagged for a career high-tying 10 runs in four innings – nine in the fourth frame alone – in a 13-4 loss here on July 27, 2011, during his 16-win season.
He has just one win over his last seven starts with three losses and three no-decisions. This marked just the second outing in Shields’ first nine that the opponent didn’t counter with a former All-Star.
“He pitched great and he competes his heart out,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It was combination of things tonight. Their pitcher and we couldn’t get anything going.”
There was no debating Rosales’ homer this time. He sent a 1-1 pitch over the left-field wall for his second home run.
“I think I was pretty sure about that one,” Rosales said with an ear-to-ear grin. “It felt good to get over that hump. Every ballfield I went to, they all were saying, ‘Oh, it was a homer,’ or you talk to family and friends and like, ‘Yeah, it was a homer.’ So, now they’ll be talking about something else. They’ll talk about a real homer.”
In the A’s 4-3 loss May 8 in Cleveland, umpire Angel Hernandez and his crew didn’t give Rosales the home run in the ninth inning after a video review – MLB executive vice president Joe Torre said an “improper call” was made.
Sean Doolittle (3-0) pitched the eighth for the win in relief of Parker as the reigning AL West champions earned just their third victory in the last 11 games.
Parker allowed four hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked two in a solid 98-pitch performance. Doolittle yielded Lough’s one-out single in the eighth but was aided by an inning-ending double play. Grant Balfour finished with a perfect ninth for his seventh save in seven chances and 25th in a row dating to last season.
Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur, who last year had 20 personal pizzas delivered to a small but animated group of A’s fans above right field in section 149, stopped by a “Bacon Friday” tailgate outside the ballpark. In 2011, Francoeur tossed a ball wrapped in a $100 bill into the elevated bleacher seats above his outfield spot, instructing fans to use it to buy bacon or beer.
NOTES: The Royals’ Alex Gordon is batting .406 (13 for 32) with five runs, three doubles and five RBIs in eight games since moving into the No. 3 spot of the batting order May 9. … This marked the first of six meetings between the clubs this year. The Royals won the 2012 season series 5-4. … The Royals used the DL for the first time in season. … Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer ended an 0-for-10 stretch with a second-inning single. He is a .328 career hitter vs. Oakland.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.