A's offense explodes as bats berate Royals' arms in 7-run second

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oakland's Orlando Cabrera called a hitters' only meeting as soon as he arrived at the ballpark Tuesday to get the attention of some of the team's younger players.

Then the Athletics' shortstop went out and gave his teammates an example of what he was talking about.

Cabrera had three hits and four RBIs, Jack Cust hit a three-run homer in a seven-run second inning and the A's broke out of a season-long slump to beat the Kansas City Royals 12-3 on Tuesday night.

"I told the young guys, we're not going to win every game but at least we have to pick the way that we're going to lose," said Cabrera, who spoke at the meeting along with fellow veterans Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Giambi. "If we're going to lose, we're going to lose playing hard, giving everything. We were playing hard but you have to do that every time, every single play."

Two days after getting shut out by Texas, the A's set a season-high for runs while pounding out 13 hits to snap a two-game losing streak.

Matt Holliday added two hits and two RBIs and Trevor Cahill (2-2) pitched six innings for the win as the A's handed the Royals their fourth straight loss.

The 12 runs were the most by the A's since beating Arizona 15-1 on June 17, 2008. Every Oakland starter scored at least one run and all but one -- second baseman Adam Kennedy -- had at least one hit.

"I liked the approach, they were aggressive for the first pitch," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "We had the big inning and it seemed like nobody wanted to make the last out. Whenever they made mistakes, we were right on it."

Coco Crisp homered and had three hits for Kansas City, which remains percentage points behind Detroit in the AL Central. Mike Jacobs homered for the Royals.

"Today was a bad day at work, it really was," Kansas City manager Trey Hillman said. "Obviously we didn't pitch very well. I know the A's have been wanting to wake those bats up and I'm not real excited about the fact that it was us that did it."

Most of the damage by Oakland came against Kansas City starter Luke Hochevar (0-1), who gave up eight runs in three innings after being called up from the minors on Sunday.

The runs were a rare sight for Cahill. The A's had scored only one run in each of his previous two starts and had scored more than two runs only once when he was on the mound.

Staked to the big lead, the right-hander worked efficiently and effectively after giving up consecutive four-pitch walks in the first inning. Cahill scattered seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

"That's how I've been my whole life," Cahill said. "It just takes awhile to get settled in."

Dan Giese, Kevin Cameron and Jerry Blevins each pitched one inning for Oakland.

Giambi, who remains one home run shy of 400 for his career, got the A's going in the first with a run-scoring double.

Oakland then sent 11 batters to the plate in the second to break the game open.

Jack Hannahan had an RBI double, Cabrera added a two-run single and Holliday drove in a run with a hit before Cust's towering three-run homer.

"We'll probably call another meeting tomorrow," Cabrera joked.

Hochevar was called up from Triple-A Omaha on Sunday after closer Joakim Soria was placed on the disabled list with a strained right rotator cuff.

"It wasn't good at all," Hochevar said. "I've never had a start like that. But I just have to flush it and move on to the next start. The inning just kept rolling, my ball was up and the breaking stuff was hanging. I was a little over-ampped up but then again you have to flush the nerves as well and go out and do your thing."

Game notes
Hochevar had not given up a run in 21 straight innings in the minors before being called up. ... The A's had lost six straight to the Royals. ... Oakland 3B Eric Chavez underwent an MRI which revealed a bulging disk in his back. Chavez, who has been on the DL since May 1 with a strained right forearm, is scheduled to have additional tests performed in Phoenix. ... Kansas City RHP Kyle Farnsworth has not allowed a run in his last seven innings.