Ibanez's error allows winning run to score in ninth


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Scott Hatteberg figured the Oakland Athletics were due for a break.

First baseman Raul Ibanez misplayed Hatteberg's bases-loaded
grounder for an error in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday
night, giving the Oakland Athletics a 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

"We've hit a lot of balls hard that haven't fallen in.
Sometimes things happen when you put the ball in play,'' Hatteberg

With one out in the ninth, Royals closer Roberto Hernandez (1-1)
gave up a single to Terrence Long, walked Greg Myers, and hit
pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz with a pitch to load the bases.

"We kept putting people on base until we finally caught a
break,'' Oakland manager Art Howe said. "We were fortunate to say
the least.''

Ibanez, who homered in the seventh to give the Royals a 2-1
lead, allowed two runs to score with his error.

"It wasn't hit very well, off the end of the bat,'' he said.
"I didn't get my glove down and it went through my legs.''

It was Hernandez's third blown save in 17 chances this year,
denying Kansas City starter Shawn Sedlacek his first major league
victory. Sedlacek has left with a lead three times in four starts
this season.

"That's the way it goes,'' Kansas City manager Tony Pena said.
''(Ibanez) has been doing a great job. He's human, too. There are
going to be days like this.''

Billy Koch (5-0) worked a scoreless ninth for the win.

The A's won for just the third time in 21 games in which they've
failed to hit a home run.

Sedlacek, who began the season at Double-A Wichita, gave up one
run and four hits. He walked three and struck out three in a
career-high seven innings, retiring 12 of his final 13 batters.

Cory Lidle went a season-high eight innings, allowing two runs
on four hits with no walks and five strikeouts. He's given up 10
home runs this season, eight by left-handed batters.

"I've been struggling just to get back on track,'' said Lidle,
who has lost a career-high seven games this season. "I couldn't
pinpoint what was wrong earlier in the season. I saw a lot of
flyballs. It was nice to see the groundballs tonight.''

Lidle got 15 outs in the infield. Besides allowing two home
runs, the only other Kansas City batter to reach second base
against Lidle was Carlos Febles, who singled and stole second in
the fourth.

Oakland took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Jermaine Dye led
off with a double down the left-field line, advanced to third on
John Mabry's groundout and scored when Long hit a sacrifice fly.

Febles tied it with his third home run of the season in the
sixth, a solo shot into the left-field bleachers. Febles, starting
for the first time in nine games, snapped an 0-for-22 skid with a
single in the fourth.

Ibanez, hitting .577 (15-for-26) over his last seven games, hit
a 3-1 pitch from Lidle over the left-field scoreboard for his ninth
home run of the season.

The Royals, who have hit 19 home runs in their last 13 games,
are batting .188 (24-for-128) on their current road trip.

The A's had the bases loaded with one out in the first, but
Sedlacek got Eric Chavez to fly out to shallow center field before
striking out Dye.

Game notes
Oakland SS Miguel Tejada extended his hitting streak to
nine games with a single in the first inning. ... The A's have won
six of the past seven season series against the Royals. ... Kansas
City 1B Mike Sweeney was not in the starting lineup a day after
getting hit by a pitch from Seattle's Joel Pineiro and cutting his
ring finger. ... The Royals did not hit a double for the first time
in 29 games. ... The A's are a major league-best 15-5 in one-run
games. They improved to 13-3 in games decided in the final at-bat.