Oakland A's Notes: Power From New Sources

For a team that hasn't made much use of the long ball all season, this was a bonanza.

The A's went deep six times in a 17-3 rout of the Kansas City Royals on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium, the most homers they've hit in a game since Sept. 11, 2003.

Dan Johnson, swinging a hot bat since coming off the disabled list on April 25, swatted two homers, and recently acquired Jack Cust also hit two. Eric Chavez homered and drove in four runs, and leadoff man Shannon Stewart went 4-for-6. Cust and Johnson were teammates in 2005 as part of the Sacramento River Cats, when they were the middle of the order sluggers for the A's Triple-A club.

Even rookie Danny Putnam got into the act. Inserted into the game in the second inning after an injury to Chris Snelling, Putnam had his first major league homerun and his first three-hit game in the majors.

The offensive outburst -- particularly by key hitters in the top and middle of the lineup -- is a good sign considering the A's are without Mike Piazza and Milton Bradley. Bradley is expected back soon from a hamstring injury, but Piazza isn't expected back until June at the earliest with a shoulder injury.

"This is kind of normal for our offense," winning pitcher Joe Kennedy said. "We always start off slow ... But any hitter will tell you hitting is contagious."

Kennedy earned his first win of the season on Thursday by going six innings. He allowed three runs (all in the sixth) on three hits. Kennedy had a no-hitter through 4.2 innings.Game Summary - A'S 17, ROYALS 3: The A's knocked out 18 hits and took two of three in Kansas City to complete a 5-3 road trip. The A's offense showed some firepower in the two victories over the Royals, giving a boost to a pitching staff that has more than done its part over the season's first five-plus weeks.

Friday's Notes

--1B Dan Johnson must wish the A's were returning to Kauffman Stadium this season. Johnson hit two homers Thursday, giving him six homers and 10 RBIs in eight career games in the Royals' home park. He's riding a 10-game hitting streak.

--OF Jack Cust has made an immediate impact since being acquired from San Diego on May 3. He homered twice Thursday, giving him three in four starts with the A's. Though the A's traded for Cust mainly to plug him in at DH, he has started two games in the outfield with Nick Swisher still battling a sore left hamstring.

--RHP Justin Duchscherer was particularly hard on himself after giving up the game-winning homer to Mike Sweeney on Wednesday night. Manager Bob Geren said that's just a display of the reliever's competitiveness. "It's a double-edged sword," Geren said. "It helps you be sharp every time out, but it's also harder to cope with it when you fail."

--3B Eric Chavez finished with four RBIs Thursday, the most runs he's driven in since getting five on Sept. 18, 2005. Chavez has shown signs of heating up, which would bode well for the offense, which has been poor up to this point.

--LHP Joe Kennedy finally got his first victory of the season. Kennedy had been staked to three runs or fewer in all five of his previous starts before Thursday, but he enjoyed an abundance of support in a 17-3 win over Kansas City. The lefty continued his solid season and now carries a 2.83 ERA.

--LHP Dallas Braden will be recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday to make a start versus the Cleveland Indians. It will be his third major league start. He is 1-1 in his first two starts.

BY THE NUMBERS: 14 -- The number of times Shannon Stewart walked in his past 15 contests, through Sunday. He did not draw a single walk in his first 13 games of 2007.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "In spring training, there are 60 guys in that clubhouse, and the manager says everyone is going to contribute to the team. That's what it is. We still have got guys capable of doing the job." -- 1B Dan Johnson, after the A's lost yet another player to injury in Mike Piazza.

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