OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – The Kansas City Royals ended baseball’s longest losing streak in 17 years Saturday night, defeating the Oakland Athletics 2-1 to snap a club-record 19-game skid.

Emil Brown doubled in a run, Matt Stairs added an RBI groundout and Mike Wood pitched five effective innings, helping the Royals stop their slide two shy of the American League record. They also ended a 12-game road losing streak that tied the franchise single-season mark.

It didn’t come without a couple of bloopers that so defined the play of the lowly Royals for 23 days since their previous victory, a 6-5 win over the Chicago White Sox in 13 innings on July 27.

Kansas City (39-82), which owns the majors’ worst record, beat A’s ace Barry Zito and got clutch outs when Oakland had a runner on third base with fewer than two outs in the fifth and sixth.

Royals outfielder Terrence Long, who spent 2000-03 with the A’s, has seen astonishing streaks from both sides. Long avoided becoming the first player since 1900 to be part of a 20-game winning streak and a 20-game losing streak, according to Stats, Inc.

“I don’t want to be that guy,” Long said before the game. “Not that way. But what can you do?”

Long remembers when Oakland beat Kansas City in improbable fashion for the club’s AL-record 20th straight victory in early September 2002 – and now the Royals ended their frustration against the same club.

Wood (4-4), a former member of the A’s making his third start of the year, allowed four hits, struck out four and walked two in a solid 92-pitch effort. Mike MacDougal got four outs for his 15th straight save and 16th in 18 chances – his first since July 24.

The right-hander blew a game against Cleveland in a non-save situation Aug. 9 when Kansas City took a five-run lead into the ninth and was on the verge of snapping a 10-game losing streak, but the Indians sent 14 batters to the plate and scored 11 runs to rally for a 13-7 victory.

Zito (11-10) lost his second straight start and is winless in three outings since beating Minnesota on Aug. 4 for his eighth straight win. The lefty gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked three.

Kansas City hit back-to-back singles off Zito to start the fourth, then Brown’s RBI double tied the score at 1. Stairs made it 2-1 with an RBI groundout moments later.

But soon the mistakes came. Shortstop Angel Berroa backhanded Jay Payton’s sharp grounder, then bounced his throw to second for an error. The Royals got out of it unscathed after turning a double play.

The next inning, third baseman Mark Teahen fielded Jason Kendall’s grounder and made a wild throw that sailed well over first baseman Mike Sweeney’s head for a two-base error. One out later, Teahen made a sprawling stop and threw out Bobby Crosby at first for the third out.

The Royals’ skid was the longest since Baltimore lost an AL-record 21 in a row at the start of the 1988 season. The major league mark since 1900 is 23 straight losses by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1961.

Kansas City bounced back following a 4-0 loss Friday night against Rich Harden.

Crosby drove in a run for the A’s in the third when he hit into a fielder’s choice.

Notes: OF David DeJesus sat out for Kansas City after leaving in the fourth inning Friday with a sore left ribcage. … Teahen returned to the team after missing Friday’s game for the funeral of his grandfather. … Six of the Royals’ starters Saturday once played for the A’s or in the Oakland farm system. … Kansas City RHP Scott Sullivan, on the DL all year with a lower back strain, will have surgery Tuesday in Los Angeles. … Oakland DH Scott Hatteberg, nursing a strained muscle in his right side, was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth. … The A’s won the first four meetings of the season series. … Angels slugger Vladimir Guerrero had 25 RBIs since the Royals’ last win.

AP-ES-08-21-05 0005EDT


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