Utilityman Smith belts two in KC win

By: Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
By: Dick Kaegel / MLB.com

OAKLAND -- One thing was obvious about the Royals' lineup on Saturday night. Manager Buddy Bell had loaded it with left-handed batters -- six of them, in fact.
No one had a bigger impact, however, than the least-known name -- Jason Smith. A backup infielder, Smith belted two homers and knocked in four runs in the Royals' 7-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

Smith was playing second base instead of Mark Grudzielanek as Bell tilted his lineup against A's right-hander Chad Gaudin.

In the three-run second inning, lefties got three hits. Ross Gload doubled and scored on Alex Gordon's single. Gordon got himself trapped off base and tagged out, but John Buck walked before Smith belted Gaudin's full-count pitch into the right-field seats.

Gload bumped the score to 4-0 when he led off the sixth with a home run to right-center field off Gaudin. It was Gload's fifth this season.

Smith connected for another two-run blast in the eighth inning. Gordon was aboard after singling when Smith lofted Ruddy Lugo's 1-0 pitch over the right-field wall.

Although Smith has just 15 career homers, this was his third multi-homer game. In another oddity, 14 of the 15 belts have come in road games. Since being claimed off waivers from Arizona on July 13, Smith has four homers for the Royals.

Royals starter Odalis Perez tempted fate in the third when, after two outs, he walked three straight batters. Up came Mike Piazza with a .412 average against Perez. However, up went his pop-out to left fielder Joey Gathright.

Perez worked five shutout innings but made 98 pitches in the process. He gave up three hits and four walks and was replaced by Joel Peralta.

By the time Peralta had made just nine pitches, the A's had scored three runs. Jack Cust got his first career triple on a liner that skipped over center fielder David DeJesus. Piazza blasted a double off the wall and, after an out, Jeff DaVanon tripled in the right-center gap. Donnie Murphy's sacrifice fly got DaVanon home.

Peralta was pulled after a walk to Jack Hannahan and David Riske finally ended the inning.

The victory was the Royals' 100th victory at Oakland since the club's inaugural season in 1969. They've lost 150 here.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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