OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Jeff Francoeur already was known for his strong arm. He has more assists than any other outfielder in the majors since he broke in six years ago.
This one was special, though.
The Kansas City right fielder threw out A’s rookie Michael Taylor at first base and took away a hit, a memorable play in an otherwise dismal afternoon for the Royals in their 7-0 loss to Oakland on Wednesday.
“This was my first position player ever,” Francoeur said. “I wasn’t even thinking about it. The ball was just laced at me, with the perfect hop and I just let it go. You kind of feel bad because you do it to a guy whose playing his fourth game in the big leagues, but that was really fun.”
The 9-3 putout was just the fifth in the AL since 1974.
Kansas City didn’t have much luck with the bats, either. Guillermo Moscoso held the Royals hitless until rookie Salvador Perez singled with two outs in the eighth inning.
“The way he was pitching and the way the game was going, you figured it was pretty much over,” Francoeur said. “You don’t get many chances to throw a guy out at first, so this is something I will always remember.”
Moscoso set an Oakland record by retiring 30 consecutive hitters — the final 13 against Seattle last Friday and the first 17 against the Royals. He walked Kansas City’s Alcides Escobar with two outs in the sixth.
Perez broke up the no-hit bid by lining a clean, opposite-field field single to right.
Moscoso recorded 16 of his outs on fly balls to the outfield, 10 to center fielder Coco Crisp. Crisp’s diving catch on Billy Butler’s sinking liner ended the first inning.
“At the end of the day, we took two out of three and we didn’t get no-hit,” Francoeur said. “It’s time to get out of town.”
Butler’s eight-pitch at-bat in the ninth ended with A’s third baseman Scott Sizemore making two errors on the play. That prompted Oakland manager Bob Melvin to bring in Fautino De Los Santos, who got the final out on one pitch.
Bruce Chen (10-7) allowed six runs on eight hits in his 6 1-3 innings.
“I felt like I was making my pitches but in the end we lost,” Chen said. “Their pitcher did a good job and he beat us.”
Crisp, after missing four games with a sore right foot, doubled in the first inning, stole his 40th base and scored on Josh Willingham’s sacrifice fly.
The A’s added another run in the fourth when left fielder Alex Gordon misplayed Taylor’s fly ball into a two-base error, allowing Kurt Suzuki to score.
“It was to my left and it was creeping into the sun at the last minute and I just stuck my glove out where I thought it might go,” Gordon said. “The ball hit my glove.”