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Road sweet home: A's win 11th straight at KC

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Ken Macha picks his onfield arguments
carefully. He certainly chose well Friday night.

When third base umpire Jerry Meals said Mark Ellis had hit
nothing more than a long foul ball down the left field line, the
Oakland Athletics manager went out and lobbied for Meals to ask the
rest of the crew for help.

The result: Meals reversed his call, signaling "home run."
Ellis' two-run shot in the third inning -- part of his season-high
four-RBI night -- turned out to be the difference in the Athletics'
5-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.

It was Oakland's 11th straight win in Kauffman Stadium, where
the A's haven't lost a series to Kansas City since July 1999.

"I don't go out much," said Macha, who later failed to get an
"out" call reversed at first base. "I get out there when I see
the play and know I'm right, or feel like I'm right."

Ellis was running with his head down and didn't see Meals'
original call.

"I thought it was maybe going to hit the wall, or maybe bounce
in front of it," he said. "But I heard they made the right
call."

The home run gave Oakland a 2-1 lead, and Ellis -- dropped to the
No. 9 spot after struggling at the plate in recent games -- added a
two-run double that chased starter Joe Mays (0-3) in the Athletics'
three-run fourth.

Oakland starter Dan Haren (1-2) withstood a cold, steady rain
that fell for much of the night, allowing two runs and eight hits
in eight innings. He walked one, hit two batters and struck out six
in his first victory since a 6-1 decision over the Los Angeles
Angels last Sept. 28.

"It was sloppy out there. The mound was sloppy," Haren said.
"I thought we were going to be fortunate to get five (innings) in,
but fortunately the rain let up and I was able to slow down and get
into my game more."

Kiko Calero relieved Haren to start the ninth and got Angel
Berroa to fly out to right. But then he gave up Matt Stairs'
pinch-hit single and walked Esteban German and Mark Grudzielanek.
Kirk Saarloos came on and walked Mike Sweeney to force in a run. He
then struck out Reggie Sanders and got Doug Mientkiewicz to ground
out for his first career save.

"That first pitch I swung through, that was my pitch and I
overswung," said Sanders, who led off the bottom of the fourth
with a solo homer that broke an 0-for-15 slump and got the Royals
within 5-2. "I was like, 'Oh, my God."

Sweeney, who hit a solo home run in the first inning, had to
duck out of the way of ball four. He strained his back, was lifted
for a pinch runner and will undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Mays gave up four runs and five hits in 3 1-3 innings, with five
walks and no strikeouts. Jimmy Gobble held Oakland hitless for 3
2-3 innings, allowing only one baserunner and striking out four
before being lifted for Luke Hudson to start the eighth.

In the top of the fourth, after Jason Kendall's sacrifice fly
made it 3-1, left fielder Emil Brown leaped for Ellis' long fly
only to see it hit the wall and bounce back for a double and a 5-1
lead.

That just made a bad inning worse for Brown. He misjudged Jay
Payton's leadoff line drive, running in when he should have stayed
put, and it sailed over his glove for a double. Payton later scored
on Kendall's sacrifice fly.

"I came in after it like it was a low line drive, as opposed to
a ball that kept carrying," Brown said.

Game notes
The Athletics placed RHP Rich Harden on the 15-day disabled
list before Friday night's game. Harden has a strained back muscle
and is expected to be out three to six weeks. The A's called up LHP
Ron Flores from Triple-A Sacramento. ... Oakland OF Milton Bradley,
who has not played since Tuesday because of a sore right knee, was
held out of the lineup again on Friday. Trainers were worried that
wet field conditions could cause Bradley to aggravate the injury.
... Royals CF Shane Costa, filling in while David DeJesus rehabs
from a left hamstring strain, pulled his left hamstring hitting a
one-out double. German pinch ran for him and stayed on to play
center field.