Johnson homers for third straight game to power A's

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Oakland rookie Dan Johnson is on a home
run binge.

Johnson homered for the third consecutive game and the Athletics
rallied from a three-run deficit to beat the Kansas City Royals 5-4
on Friday night.

The Royals have lost eight straight, while the A's have won
eight of nine.

"My whole year I've been streaky with home runs," said
Johnson, who has gone deep nine times. "I get in a groove where I
hit a couple of home runs in a row and then I go dry again. I
literally go in streaks."

Johnson's streak goes beyond home runs. He is hitting .469 in a
season-high nine game hitting streak. He is hitting .380 since the
All-Star break to raise his average to .324.

Kansas City took a 4-3 lead into the eighth, but relievers
Jeremy Affeldt (0-1) and Ambiorix Burgos allowed two runs, three
walks, a single and a wild pitch. Bobby Kielty's single off Burgos
scored Bobby Crosby with the first run. A wild pitch by Burgos, who
has blown three saves in five opportunities, allowed Eric Chavez,
who had walked, to score the go-ahead run.

"I don't have an excuse," Affeldt said. "I flat out stunk,
plain and simple. I just didn't throw a strike. I usually say we
lose as a team, but I lost that one, coming in and walking three
guys. I take full responsibility. They say if you're going to miss
to miss down. I happened to miss down on about every single pitch.
That's a patient team, not a team you want to nit pick with."

Johnson was one of the three A's in the eighth to draw a walk
from Affeldt, who threw just six strikes in 18 pitches.

"That's our philosophy, we're aggressive, but very patient,"
Johnson said. "If we don't get our pitches, we try to get on base.
In that situation, we really need to get on base."

Left-hander Joe Kennedy (2-0) allowed one hit in 2 1/3 scoreless
innings in relief of Kirk Saarloos to pick up the victory.

Huston Street worked a flawless ninth for his 13th save, one
better than Oakland's rookie record set by Rollie Fingers in 1969.

Johnson hit a two-run shot in the sixth to cut the Royals' lead
to 4-3. Johnson's homer came on a 2-0 pitch from starter Zach
Greinke and landed in the Royals' bullpen. Crosby led off the
inning with a single.

"These guys don't give up," A's manager Ken Macha said.
"That's part of the attitude and make up of these guys. During
this streak when the other team scores it seems that we come back
and score the next inning."

Greinke, who leads the majors with 13 losses, gave up three runs
and seven hits over seven innings, leaving with a 4-3 lead.
Greinke, who lowered his ERA to 6.02, struck out five, walked one
and hit a batter.

"I've been up and down lately," Greinke said. "I was probably
due for a decent one again. My location was real good. I kept it
low in the zone and kept us in the game for a while. On the home
run to Johnson, that was a pitch he should have hit for a home run.
The first mistake was getting behind in the count and the second
mistake was the location of my fastball, waist high."

Jason Kendall, who entered the game with just 18 extra base hits
and the lowest slugging percentage (.333) in the majors, doubled
home Jay Payton with two outs in the fifth to give the A's a 1-0
lead. Payton led off the inning with a single.

John Buck hit his first homer since June 20, a two-run shot off
Saarloos in the Royals' four-run fifth. Buck was just 2-for-20 in
his previous five games. Mark Teahen led off the inning with a
double and scored on Angel Berroa's single. Matt Stairs' singled
home Terrence Long with the final run of the inning.

Saarloos, who had won his previous two starts and three of his
past four, lasted 4 2-3 innings, allowing four runs and seven hits.

"After I got pulled I wondered what happened," Saarloos said.
"It was bang, bang, bang and I was out. The first four innings I
was on top and getting a lot of ground balls. In the fifth, I got
underneath my cutter, which was flat, straight, up and kind of
sloppy. All the hits except for Long's were on cutters. I know what
I did wrong. I threw bad pitches. I'm not really worried about

Game notes
Kansas City CF David DeJesus, who suffered a mild
concussion after being kneed while stealing second base on Thursday
at Boston, was in the lineup on Friday ... A's DH Scott Hatteberg
was a late scratch with a slight rib cage strain. Adam Melhuse
replaced him. ... RHP Jose Lima, who starts Saturday against
Oakland, has an 11.93 ERA in three career starts against the A's,
his highest ERA against any opponent. ... The crowd of 23,979
pushed the Royals' attendance to more than one million for the 33rd
consecutive year.