A's rough up Hochevar again as Oakland's bullpen stops Royals

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Rajai Davis reached back to his Little League days to pull off an impressive stunt that sparked the Oakland Athletics to a win over the Royals.

Davis baited Kansas City pitcher Luke Hochevar into making a wild throw to second base in the third inning, allowing Oakland's veteran outfielder to race to third and keyed a five-run rally that helped carry the A's to an 8-5 win over the Royals on Monday night.

"It's definitely something I used to do in Little League all the time," said Davis, who had two hits, two RBIs and stole his career-high 30th base in the victory. "I don't know how many other guys can make it to third on that."

Officially the play was ruled a fielder's choice. Unofficially, Hochevar called it a bonehead play.

"I need to do a better job of recognizing that," said Hochevar, who had fielded an overthrow from right fielder Willie Bloomquist and was wiping his brow when Davis alertly took third. "That's on me to find a way to get out of that. I thought time was out. That's just a bonehead play there."

Ryan Sweeney had a two-run triple and scored the go-ahead run on Adam Kennedy's bases loaded fielder's choice grounder in the sixth for the A's, who won for only fifth time in their last 13 games.

David DeJesus homered and Alberto Callaspo drove in three runs for the Royals, who played without manager Trey Hillman. Hillman left the team to be with his family following the death of his father-in-law and is expected to miss the entire series with the A's.

Bench coach John Gibbons served as Kansas City's interim manager and will do so the remainder of the series. Hillman is expected to rejoin the team later this week.

"We imploded awful quick there," Gibbons said. "We get the 4-0 lead and then the one inning did us in. We had a couple of breakdowns after that and the game gets away from us."

Oakland trailed 4-0 after two innings, but scored five runs in the third and added three more in the sixth. In both innings, the A's got a helping hand from the Royals' sloppy defense.

Davis, who batted .316 in August, singled home Cliff Pennington in the third and right fielder Bloomquist's throw home skipped past catcher Miguel Olivo, allowing Davis to take second. When Hochevar retrieved the ball and appeared to look down at the ground, Davis sprinted to third and scored on Kurt Suzuki's groundout. Two batters later, Sweeney tripled in a pair of runs and Mark Ellis followed with an RBI single to put the A's up 5-4.

"Sometimes you get a break like that," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "Nobody really likes to see somebody make an error like that but if you're the benefactor of it, it's fine. When you get a break, it's great."

Davis, who has been playing with a broken right thumb and injured his left wrist Monday, planned it all along.

"I went out there and was really baiting him to throw to second base," Davis said. "[Hochevar] glanced at me one time and put his head down. It was like, 'All right, you're not paying any attention I'm going to take advantage of it.'"

The Royals tied the game in the fifth before Oakland broke the game open in the sixth when Kansas City reliever John Bale fielded Kennedy's one-out grounder and threw wildly to second, skipping the ball into center and allowing Sweeney and Daric Barton to score. Davis tacked on an RBI single to make it 8-4.

Craig Breslow (6-7) got two outs for the win. Andrew Bailey worked the ninth for his 21st save in 25 chances.

Hochevar (6-8) took the loss, allowing seven runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander, who fell to 0-4 in four career starts against the A's, has five losses and two no-decisions in his last seven starts.

Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez didn't have much better numbers but was bailed out by the A's offense and bullpen. Gonzalez gave up five runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts and four walks.

Despite the win Oakland is guaranteed of finishing with a losing record in each of the first five months of the season. It's the first time since 1993 the A's have had that happen.

Game notes
Kansas City extended general manager Dayton Moore's contract through the 2014 season on Monday, tacking on three more years after he exercised an option for 2011. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. ... The A's scratched RHP Brett Tomko from Wednesday's scheduled start against the Royals and will instead use RHP Trevor Cahill. Tomko could pitch Thursday against Seattle.