Four homers power A's past Royals

Four homers power A's past Royals

KANSAS CITY -- Facing the Royals in the decisive third game of a three-game series, the A's entered Sunday with an aggressive game plan.

"It's kind of been our plan since we added some speed to our personnel," A's manager Bob Geren said. "And we're last in homers."

Well, the A's were last in the American League in homers.

That changed Sunday as the A's crushed four long balls -- including two from Bobby Crosby -- in a 6-3 win over the Royals on a scorching day at Kauffman Stadium.

And as for the game plan? The A's did manage to swipe four bases, too.

Sunday, however, was about power. The A's have now hit 93 home runs this season -- moving one homer ahead of the Royals, their victims on Sunday.

"Home runs seem to come in bunches," said Crosby, who had two homers for the second time in his career -- and against the Royals as well. "I think personally they do and team-wise they do. I don't know the reason for it."

The A's, who won for the fifth time in seven games, have won back-to-back series for the first time since taking consecutive series from the White Sox and Orioles in the first week of June.

"You just interject a few young guys in there that have some energy and it's a really fun group right now," Geren said.

Rookie starter Brett Anderson -- one of those energetic young kids -- contributed another steady performance, allowing just three runs over six-plus innings.

And the offense gave Anderson an early lead to work with on back-to-back homers from Ryan Sweeney and Crosby in the second inning.

Sweeney added the big punch with a three-run homer off Royals starter Luke Hochevar, and Crosby followed by jumping on a Hochevar fastball to put the A's up, 4-0.

"Anytime a guy hits a home run before you, your pitcher wants to get back in the rhythm," Crosby said. "I figured he was going to try to throw a fastball by me, and I was on time for it."

Four runs were enough for Anderson.

Pitching just five hours from his family's home in Stillwater, Okla., and dealing with some strange swelling on his left index finger, Anderson held the Royals scoreless for six straight innings.

"I mixed and matched pretty well," said Anderson, who said the mysterious swelling wasn't a factor.

He allowed just three men to reach base through the first three innings, and after Billy Butler singled to lead off the fourth, Anderson retired nine batters in a row.

"Anderson ran good stuff up there," Royals manager Trey Hillman said.

Anderson finally ran out of gas in the seventh, allowing three straight hits to lead off the inning. But Michael Wuertz entered from the bullpen and ended the inning with the A's still leading, 4-3.

"It was so hot. And a couple squeaked through right there," Geren said. "Potentially, on a cooler night with a little break there, [Anderson] might have gone nine innings today. That's how good he was."

The offense started their support of Anderson in the second.

Jack Cust led off the inning with a walk, and Kurt Suzuki followed with a double off the wall in center. Hochevar was spared for a moment when shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt robbed Tommy Everidge with a leaping grab on a line drive.

But Sweeney followed with a blast that nobody would catch -- a three-run, 397-foot homer into Kauffman Stadium's right-field party porch.

Crosby's first homer was even deeper.

Left fielder David DeJesus took only two steps back before stopping to watch Crosby's towering solo shot bounce along a left-field concourse 407 feet from home plate.

Suzuki added another homer in the eighth -- a towering insurance shot to left off reliever Roman Colon.

Crosby put the capstone on the victory in the ninth with another solo homer off reliever John Bale.

"The second one was even more impressive," Geren said. "I think it was a changeup where he went the opposite field against a left-hander. They were both big hits."

Closer Andrew Bailey pitched a scoreless ninth for his 16th save of the season.

The A's head to Baltimore to face a team they swept earlier this season. They're playing better ball than they have in months, and you can feel something different in the clubhouse, Geren says.

"They've always played hard," Geren said. "There's just a little something extra going on."

Rustin Dodd is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.