(Sports Network) - After surviving a late scare in the opener of this three- game series with the Kansas City Royals, the Oakland Athletics will try to continue their dominance in this set on Saturday.
Oakland owned a 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the ninth inning on Friday but starter Tommy Milone, who had a shutout working up to that point, gave up three runs in the inning. Grant Balfour came in to shut the door and earn his 22nd save of the season and keep the Athletics from what would have been a difficult loss.
Josh Reddick was 2-for-3 with a double, a triple, two RBI and three runs scored for Oakland, which has won four of its last five and holds a half-game lead over the Texas Rangers for first place in the American League West.
Alcides Escobar had an RBI double and Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez each knocked in a run in the ninth, but the Royals still came up short.
Wade Davis was saddled with the loss for Kansas City after he allowed three runs on six hits over seven innings of work. The loss ended a brief two-game winning streak for the Royals.
Getting back on the hill after suffering a hamstring injury at the end of June with be Jarrod Parker, who gets the start for Oakland.
In the game in which he was injured, Parker threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings before he was taken out of the game.
The Royals could be a good opponent for Parker to come back against. Back on May 18 Parker pitched a seven-inning gem against the Royals in which he allowed just a single run on four hits while striking out five batters. Unfortunately for Parker he did not factor in the decision though the Athletics did earn the 2-1 victory.
The start was just the second of Parker's career against the Royals. In his only other outing Parker allowed five runs, four of which were earned, over 4 2/3 innings and took a loss.
On the campaign Parker has split his 12 decisions while earning an ERA of 4.11. Parker has also struck out 70 batters this year, which is exactly half of his total of his breakout 2012 campaign.
Opposing Parker this time around for the Royals will be Ervin Santana as he looks for his first win since June 13.
Santana hasn't exactly been pitching well in his three starts since that victory though he has gone at least six innings in each outing. Most recently Santana allowed four runs, three of which were earned, while walking a season- high four batters against Minnesota. However, the Royals managed to pull out a 9-8 victory.
Overall, Santana is 5-5 with an impressive 2.84 ERA on the campaign. His five wins are second among Kansas City starters while his ERA is the best among the five-man rotation. Santana is also second on the team with 89 strikeouts in 111 innings of work.
Despite allowing just two runs over seven innings of work earlier this season against Oakland, Santana still took a loss as the Royals' offense yet again let one of its starters down. Though he was not fortunate enough to get a win that time around, Santana still owns a 14-6 record and a 2.05 ERA against the Athletics (27 games, 25 starts).
Oakland has won all four meetings between these teams this season, including a three-game sweep from May 17-19.