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Kazmir, A's target another win over Royals

(SportsNetwork.com) - Scott Kazmir will try to set a new career high in victories on Wednesday night when the Oakland Athletics attempt to deal the Kansas City Royals a second straight defeat in the third contest of a four- game series.

Kazmir is in the midst of a career resurgence in his first year with Oakland, having gone 13-4 with a 2.73 earned run average in 23 starts. His 13 victories match his previous season best, set in 2007 with Tampa Bay during a 13-9 campaign.

After losing to the Royals on Aug. 3, the left-handed Kazmir notched a win over Minnesota on Friday thanks to just enough run support as all five runs he allowed in the outing came in the seventh frame.

Kazmir logged 6 2/3 innings of work in total, earning a 6-5 win despite the most runs he had allowed in his last seven starts.

"They put some good swings on the ball," said Kazmir on Oakland's website, "but at the same time instead of making those quality pitches when I'm ahead in the count, I was just leaving it up and they were putting good swings to it."

The 30-year-old is 4-6 with a 5.21 ERA in 16 career starts versus the Royals, who got to him for four runs and 10 hits over six innings in the earlier meeting this month.

Oakland evened this series with last night's 11-3 win, snapping Kansas City's eight-game winning streak. The Royals, though, remained in first place in the American League Central by a half-game over Detroit, while the Athletics are 3 1/2 up on the LA Angels for the top spot in the AL West.

Josh Donaldson homered twice in the win for Oakland and drove in four runs. He had three of the club's 20 hits, while Brandon Moss ended with four hits and two RBI to help the A's snap a two-game slide.

"I believe that we have a good lineup and I believe that we will continue to have success," said Donaldson.

Jon Lester won his seventh straight decision after allowing just three runs on six hits with nine strikeouts in six innings of work.

"Normally three runs against Lester would've kept us in the game," said Royals manager Ned Yost.

Nori Aoki, Salvador Perez and Alcides Escobar each drove in a run for the Royals, while starter Jeremy Guthrie gave up 11 hits and six runs -- four earned -- over 4 2/3 frames in defeat.

The Royals lost for just the second time in 13 games and have not dropped two in a row since June 27-29. They'll try to avoid doing that tonight behind starter Jason Vargas.

The left-hander lost his second start in a row when he allowed seven runs -- four earned -- over 4 1/3 frames versus Oakland on Aug. 2, his first outing since July 8 due to an appendectomy, but rebounded a bit in a no-decision versus San Francisco on Friday.

Vargas was charged with two runs on nine hits over five innings versus the Giants, striking out five without giving up a walk. He stands 8-5 on the year with a 3.68 ERA.

The 31-year-old is 6-7 in his career versus Oakland with a 3.47 ERA.

Kansas City took two of three from the A's earlier this month.

08/13 10:50:39 ET

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