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ATL@KC: Santana strikes out seven Braves over six

One thing has been certain every time Ervin Santana takes the hill for the Royals this season -- he tosses at least six innings.

The right-hander has gone a minimum of six innings in all 16 of his starts, which has contributed to his impressive 2.84 ERA.

He'll look to keep that streak going on Saturday as the A's and Royals square off in the middle game at Kauffman Stadium.

While Santana wasn't his sharpest against the Twins on Sunday, walking a season-high four, he made it through six innings and allowed four runs on five hits in a no-decision.

"I didn't have my best stuff," Santana said after Kansas City's 9-8 win. "I did not have good command, but I made good pitches and gave my team a chance to win."

Meanwhile, Jarrod Parker gets the nod for the A's on six days' rest. The right-hander exited his last start against the Cardinals after 3 2/3 innings because of tightness in his right hamstring.

"We felt like the best thing to do would be push him back a couple days and make sure he's fine," A's manager Bob Melvin said earlier in the week.

With Parker going 4-0 with a 2.15 ERA over his last seven starts, which matches the longest winning streak of his career, Kansas City manager Ned Yost isn't taking the A's pitching staff lightly.

"Their starting pitching has been really good. They're like 23-7 in the team's last 45 games," Yost said. "Their bullpen is really good, too."

A's: Cespedes moves to sixth spot
With Yoenis Cespedes slumping at the plate in the last few weeks, Melvin decided to move him into the sixth spot of the batting order for just the second time in his career on Friday against the Royals. He went 1-for-4 in the A's 6-3 win

Oakland's outfielder last appeared there in the second game of the 2012 season in Tokyo, after hitting seventh in the opener. Since, he had not appeared lower than fifth, with 137 of his 194 career starts coming in the cleanup hole.

"Just a change of scenery, and [Josh] Donaldson's been doing really well, so just a little bit of both," Melvin said. "My guess is he won't be there long. Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery."

Cespedes has just 10 hits but 23 strikeouts in his last 63 at-bats for a .159 clip over that 16-game span and, since season's start, seemingly hasn't found a consistent groove. He hit .228 in April, .220 in May and .232 in June.

Royals: Gordon concussion free
Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon is day to day after undergoing an slew of tests since falling against a bullpen fence in pursuit of a fly ball in Wednesday's game against the Indians.

Gordon hasn't played since then, but doesn't have a concussion.

"They said I was cleared to go," Gordon said. "They did all the tests, followed all the rules and they cleared me to go. So, I'm just going to get back into action and hopefully get things rolling."

Gordon took batting practice and played catch before Friday's game against the A's and could be back in the lineup this weekend.

Worth noting
• Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer has been on fire of late, belting five home runs in his last nine games. He's also hit eight home runs in his last 20 games after hitting just one in his first 61 contests.

"It's just going up with an approach and having a plan up there, and basically just sticking to it and not worrying about what the pitcher is going to throw me or what type of pitch is coming, just worrying about my strengths and sticking to my game plan," Hosmer said. "I feel like if I can get myself into a ready position and get ready to hit, whatever pitch is coming, I feel confident that I can hit it."

• Parker is carrying a streak of seven consecutive starts with five hits or fewer and two walks or fewer, which is tied for the longest by an A's starting pitcher since at least 1916 (Alan Wirth, 1978).

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