OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Jemile Weeks played through some nerves, Gio Gonzalez played through an illness and the Oakland Athletics played well enough for their first series win under interim manager Bob Melvin.
Weeks had two hits and drove in three runs, and Hideki Matsui homered to lead the Oakland Athletics to an 8-4 win over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday.
Matsui’s solo blast gave him a combined 499 homers in Japan and the U.S. and helped Oakland win a second straight game for the first time since a four-game streak May 26-29.
“The first couple of days were shaky from nerves and I just tried to stay confident,” said Weeks, hitting .344 (11 for 32) since his June 7 callup. “I’m just going out there and playing as hard as I can.”
Melky Cabrera had two hits and drove in a run for the Royals, who lost their second straight. Jeff Francoeur, Wilson Betemit and Brayan Pena each added an RBI.
“He was establishing his fastball and left it up in the zone and we were chasing it,” said Francoeur, who also struck out four times. “That’s not a good combination, especially when you throw 94 miles an hour like he does.”
Daric Barton drove in two runs, and Coco Crisp and Kurt Suzuki each had an RBI in support of Gio Gonzalez (6-5), who ended a personal three-game slide for his first win since May 17.
“There were a couple of innings where I had to sit down and take a deep breath,” Gonzalez said. “My throat is a little sore and I feel a little weak but I didn’t want to show any weakness.”
Gonzalez allowed two runs on five hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out 10.
“He’s usually pretty animated and he was subdued,” Melvin said. “You could tell he was feeling it.”
Jeff Francis (3-7) gave up a season-high six runs on nine hits over 3 1-3 innings, his second-shortest outing of the season. He walked two and did not strike out a batter in a game for the first time.
“I was falling behind guys in certain situations and that doesn’t do me any good,” Francis said. “When I did throw a good pitch they put some good swings on them.”
Melvin earned his first ejection in an Oakland uniform, getting tossed by third base umpire Tim Tschida in the top of the third.
“There was some miscommunication,” Melvin said. “Tim thought I was arguing with him but I was just waving my arms and yelling because I thought we weren’t getting calls. It was not great form getting kicked out.”
Weeks’ two-out double scored two runners in the second during the A’s four-run rally.
“Hitting is contagious in my opinion and when guys are hitting like that you think, ‘Well, I better go up there and get a hit,’” Weeks said.
Matsui led off the third with his sixth home run of the season and third in seven games after going homerless in his previous 23 games. Barton later added his second RBI of the game.
“I don’t know the time difference but I’m pretty sure a lot of people in Japan will be watching,” Melvin said.
The Royals scored twice in the fifth to make it 6-2 on Cabrera’s single and Francoeur’s double.
Weeks singled home a run in the bottom of the fifth and Suzuki doubled home a run in the seventh.
Betemit and Pena each doubled in a run for the Royals in the eighth.
Notes — Francis has not won consecutive road starts since 2007. He has a 6.93 ERA away from Kansas City. ... Barton tied Sean Casey for most games to start a season without a home run by a first baseman at 63. ... Melvin plans to give Matsui a start in each of the series played in National League parks during interleague play. ... Cabrera has a hit in 12 of his past 14 games. ... Francoeur went 1 for 5 and is now 2 for 20 with seven strikeouts on the road trip. ... A’s right fielder Conor Jackson had a hit and walked against Francis, improving to .436 (17 for 39) against the left-hander.