KANSAS CITY, Mo. -

Nori Aoki and Billy Butler each drove in two runs in a five-run seventh and the surging Kansas City Royals rallied to defeat the Oakland Athletics 7-3 Thursday.         

The Royals have won 18 of 22 to move 12 games above .500 for the first time since July 20, 2003.         

The Royals took the season series, winning five of seven against the Athletics, who have the best record in the majors.         

Aoki's two-run triple put the Royals ahead 5-3. Butler's single scored Aoki and Alcides Escobar. Jarrod Dyson fouled off four consecutive pitches before hitting an RBI single to right for the first run of the inning.         

Right-hander Jeff Samardzija (3-2) took the loss, giving up four runs, three earned, and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings.

He left with a 3-2 lead, but Ryan Cook failed to hold it, facing three batters and all scored. Cook's streak of 21 consecutive scoreless innings ended.