Vargas notches 8 K's as Royals pin down A's

Vargas notches 8 K's as Royals pin down A's

KANSAS CITY -- Left-hander Jason Vargas silenced the A's through 7 2/3 innings and the struggling Royals' offense mustered just enough to beat right-hander Jesse Hahn in a 3-1 victory on Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Vargas (2-0) gave up four hits while walking one and striking out eight as the Royals snapped a three-game losing streak.

The Royals, who on Wednesday snapped a 19-inning scoreless streak, scraped together six singles off Hahn, who was impressive in his first Major League start since last August. Hahn struck out seven through six innings.

"His command probably wasn't great early on, but really he just got nicked up a little bit and ends up with three runs in six innings, and when he leaves, obviously it's 3-0," A's manager Bob Melvin said, "but we get a couple guys on and still have a chance."

Added Royals manager Ned Yost, "Awesome. He was unbelievably good. I don't think he missed too many spots today."

Cain's RBI single

Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain singled in a run in the first, and singled and scored in the third.

Oakland's Rajai Davis hit his first home run of the season in the ninth off closer Kelvin Herrera, who picked up his first save.

Davis' solo home run

The LoCain Train: Cain had his hand, and feet, all over the Royals' third run. Leading off the third, Cain hit an innocent grounder toward shortstop Marcus Semien, whose throw to first wasn't in time. After a walk to Eric Hosmer and a strikeout of Salvador Perez, Cain stole third with Brandon Moss at the plate. Moss, who lined out with two on and two out in the first, and was 1-for-21 before the at-bat, lined out again, but this one was deep enough to left to score Cain and the Royals had a 3-0 lead

"I'm just trying to keep my approach the same," Cain said. "Get the ball in play. Use my legs. The power will come later."

Cain steals third base

Added Moss, "I can't remember the last time someone stole a base when I was at bat. I had to sort of stop myself to not swing. But it changed my approach in that I hit a pitcher's pitch just to get it to the outfield and score the run."

Moss' sacrifice fly in the 3rd

3-0 isn't always magic: Oakland slugger Khris Davis normally green-lights 3-0 pitches and fans saw that in the Royals' home opener on Monday. Davis took a 3-0 pitch from Ian Kennedy and launched a towering two-run home run in the A's 2-0 win. This time the strategy didn't fare as well. The A's got a one-out single in the fourth from Jed Lowrie and appeared to have something going when Vargas fell behind 3-0 to Davis. But Davis pounded a fastball into the ground toward shortstop Alcides Escobar, who started a 6-4-3 double play.

Escobar starts the double play

"I don't know. You have to ask him. We didn't get a chance to exchange too many words. The game went on. Everybody wants to win." -- Vargas, on why Oakland's Ryon Healy took exception to back-to-back inside pitches with the count 0-2

When Escobar booted a two-out grounder in the eighth from Adam Rosales, it was the Royals' first error this season. It ended the season-opening streak at 78 2/3 innings, the longest in franchise history to open a season.

Royals replay specialist Bill Duplissea made it 4-of-4 this season when he suggested a challenge of Raul Mondesi's out call on a stolen base attempt in the second inning. Replays showed Mondesi clearly beat the tag and the call was quickly overturned.

Mondesi safe after review

Athletics: Right-hander Kendall Graveman, who has allowed just three earned runs in his first 13 innings this season, will be back on the mound on Friday to face former teammate Josh Reddick and the Astros. First pitch at the Coliseum, where the A's begin a 10-game homestand, is set for 7:05 p.m. PT.

Royals: Left-hander Danny Duffy (1-0, 2.08 ERA) takes the mound for the Royals as they open a three-game set with the Angels on Friday (7:15 p.m. CT) at Kauffman Stadium. In a 7-3 win over Houston on Saturday, Duffy gave up two runs over seven innings.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for since 2010.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.