KANSAS CITY — For a moment, it looked like Royals catcher Salvador Perez would be the hero, breaking a tie in the eighth inning with a blast that was caught at the 410-foot sign in center field.
No matter. Jorge Soler followed moments later with a home run off reliever Yusmeiro Petit, a shot to left-center that gave the Royals a 5-4 lead, an advantage that held in a victory over the A’s on Saturday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals had taken a 4-3 lead into the eighth. But since ace setup man Brad Keller moved to the rotation earlier this week, Royals manager Ned Yost has been searching for a new bridge to get to closer Kelvin Herrera.
This time it was right-hander Kevin McCarthy who got through a scoreless seventh. But the A’s nicked lefty Tim Hill for a run in the eighth on pinch-hitter Chad Pinder’s first-pitch RBI single up the middle.
Hill got his first career victory. Herrera closed out the ninth for his 13th save.
Royals right-hander Jason Hammel turned in his third straight solid outing, going six-plus innings while permitting seven hits and three runs. He walked two and struck out three.
In his last three outings, Hammel has gone 18 1/3 innings, giving up three runs while striking out 19. He left after A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell, a .154 hitter coming in, hit his first home run of the season on a 3-1 fastball.
The Royals jumped to an early 4-0 lead. Perez hit a two-run double in the first. Alcides Escobar and Jon Jay had RBI hits in the second.