KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Oakland Athletics had the Kansas City Royals on the ropes in the sixth inning, but could not put them away.
Right fielder Nori Aoki's two-run triple in the seventh inning put the Kansas City Royals up to stay as they beat the Oakland Athletics 7-3 on Thursday.
The Royals, who have won 11 of 13 in August, batted around in a five-run seventh. Aoki drove a first pitch down the right field line to score rookie second baseman Christian Colon, who had three hits, and center fielder Jarrod Dyson.
"We're like (Floyd) Mayweather in the ring," Dyson said. "We never give up. We keep fighting. That's our mentality out there. We're just rolling right now. Everybody is clicking. Our pitching is clicking. Our bullpen is lights out. Our offense is starting to pick it up. We're in a good spot right now."
Dyson singled home the first run of the inning, while first baseman Billy Butler capped off the scoring with a two-run single.
In the sixth, Dyson lost right fielder Josh Reddick's towering fly in the sun for a triple and that led to two runs and a short-lived one-run A's lead.
"Right there, you've got to tell yourself whenever there is an opportunity to pick yourself up, you've got to do it," Dyson said. "You're saying, 'I've got to get a hit and make every play on defense and don't screw it up again.' "
Royals right-hander Aaron Crow (6-1) collected the victory, while Greg Holland got the final two outs for his American League-leading 36th save as the game ended with the bases loaded.
Jeff Samardzija (3-2) was charged with the loss, giving up four runs on eight hits, walking none and striking out five in 6 1/3 innings.
Samardzija left with the A's clinging to a 3-2 lead, but Ryan Cook, who had the longest active streak in the majors of 21 scoreless innings, yielded three runs without retiring any of the three batters he faced.
"I made him (Aoki) look silly (Tuesday) on a fastball in," Cook said. "I tried to go there again. I thought it was a decent pitch. It was a good piece of hitting. I'm more frustrated with my 0-2 pitch to Dyson.
"My changeup has been my best pitch for a while. It was the right pitch, but a bad mistake, unfortunately. I told myself to miss down and didn't. I missed middle. I had all the momentum."
Royals starter James Shields left after 111 pitches and six innings, yielding three runs on seven hits.
"That team over there is pretty good," Shields said. "They work the count. They are good at seeing a lot of pitches. Today was kind of a grind out there."
The bottom of the Royals' order produced a run in the third. Backup catcher Erik Kratz and Colon led off the inning with singles. Kratz advanced to third on second baseman Albert Callaspo's throwing error on Colon's single. Dyson's sacrifice fly to center scored Kratz with the run being unearned.
The A's tied it in the fourth, when left fielder Brandon Moss opened with a single and stopped at third on right fielder Josh Reddick's opposite-field double that one-hopped the fence. Callaspo brought Moss home with a sacrifice fly to left fielder Alex Gordon on a 1-2 pitch.
The Royals regained the lead in the fourth when Gordon scored on third baseman Mike Moustakas' two-out single off Samardzija, who was making his eighth A's start since acquired in a July 5 trade with the Chicago Cubs.
"They have a lot of different ways to beat you," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They are hitting on all cylinders. We've just got to get out of here. We lost the series and now we'll play the Braves."
NOTES: A's SS Jed Lowrie was placed on the disabled list after the game with a fractured right index finger. He broke the finger Aug. 4 in Tampa Bay and attempted to play with the injury, but it was affecting his throwing. Eric Sogard made his second start of the series at shortstop. The A's recalled IF Andy Parrino from Triple-A Sacramento. ... Royals C Salvador Perez, who has played in 109 games, was not in the starting lineup, a day game after a night game, but did catch the final two innings. ... The Royals' 2:06 game time Wednesday was their shortest game since Sept. 10, 2011 at Seattle, which lasted 2:04. ... A's RHP Jason Hammel, who starts Friday at Atlanta, is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in his past two starts. He has given up just one earned run in the past 12 innings. ... Royals LHP Danny Duffy, who starts Friday at Minnesota, has a 1.95 ERA since July 11.