OAKLAND, Calif. Kevin Cron Jersey . -- The beginning of Julys first blockbuster trade occurred about a month ago, when Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane called Chicago Cubs executive Theo Epstein to ask about Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. Beane told Epstein he liked the starting pitchers, and he was going to be aggressive in an attempt to improve the AL West leaders. Fast forward to this weekend, when Beane proved just how serious he was during that initial call. Oakland and Chicago announced the big trade on Saturday, with Samardzija and Hammel heading to the West Coast for a package of prospects that included the As first-round selections in each of the past two drafts. "The deal speaks for itself. To pick up two guys like that in early June is pretty fantastic," As manager Bob Melvin said. "We wanted more options and saw the urgency to get it done. This makes us better." The Athletics began the day with the best record in baseball, but Beane felt he needed to add depth to a rotation that responded well to season-ending injuries for Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin. Drew Pomeranz also is on the disabled list with a broken right hand. Samardzija and Hammel join Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray in one of the majors best group of starting pitchers. "We had to dig into our depth really early, and we felt like we needed two (starting pitchers)," Beane said. Samardzija will start for the As on Sunday. He was scheduled to pitch for the Cubs Saturday. In somewhat of a surprise, the As sent left-hander Tommy Milone to Triple-A Sacramento later Saturday to make room for Samardzija. Milone was 6-0 with a 2.62 ERA over his last 11 starts and 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA in 16 starts overall. "What do you say to a guy like that?" Melvin said. "Hes been terrific his last 10 starts and has meant a lot to us the last three years. I tried to figure out what to say to him. We havent seen the last of him." Oakland will make a move Sunday to clear space for Hammel, who will start Wednesday. Minor leaguers Addison Russell, Billy McKinney and Dan Straily went to Chicago in another painful deal for the lowly Cubs, who have played better of late, but are still last in the NL Central. Chicago also gets a player to be named in its latest July sell-off. The Cubs lost at least 91 games in each of the previous three years. They traded away starting pitchers Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm in July 2012, and Matt Garza and Scott Feldman last July. "We certainly hope that this is the last year that were obvious sellers at the trade deadline," Epstein said. The key piece for Chicago in the deal with Oakland was Russell, a 20-year-old shortstop headed for Double-A Tennessee. A torn right hamstring sidelined the No. 11 overall selection in the 2012 draft earlier this season, but he was batting .333 in 13 games for Double-A Midland at the time of the trade. Chicago and Oakland talked about a Samardzija for Russell deal, but Epstein said the one-for-one framework didnt work. He spoke with Beane on Thursday night, and thats when the trade grew into the larger package. "We felt like Russell was a key for us in any deal with Oakland," Epstein said. The hard-throwing Samardzija had a 2-7 record for the Cubs, but he also had a 2.83 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 108 innings, making him one of the most coveted pitchers on the market. The former Notre Dame receiver was selected by Chicago in the fifth round in 2006. Chicago recalled left-hander Chris Rusin from Triple-A Iowa. Epstein said the Cubs were still discussing their options when it came to the rotation. "I can say that (after that) its going to stay the same until Tuesday for the doubleheader (at Cincinnati)," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of the rotation after Saturday. Jake Arrieta is set to start Sunday in Washington and Edwin Jackson on Monday at Cincinnati. The Cubs will add a 26th man, Tsuyoshi Wada, for Tuesdays doubleheader. The Cubs talked to the 29-year-old Samardzija about a contract extension, but were unable to come to an agreement. He is set to become a free agent for the first time after the 2015 season. "Jeff has been a bit of workhorse," Beane said. "Hes got a perfect health record. Hes a guy that continues to develop. Hes gotten better and better each year he goes out." Hammel signed a $6 million, one-year contract with Chicago in February and went 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 108 2-3 innings with the Cubs. He pitched six-plus innings in a 7-2 victory over Washington on Friday. Hammel, who turns 32 in September, also has three career post-season starts. "Hes gotten better and better and we think now is a great time to have him," Beane said. The 19-year-old McKinney, who was selected in the first round a year ago, hit .241 with 10 homers for Class A Stockton this season. He is headed for Chicagos Class A affiliate in Daytona, Florida, where he will share the outfield with another top prospect in Albert Almora. Straily finished 10-8 with a 3.96 ERA in 27 starts for the As last year. He was sent down to Triple-A Sacramento after struggling earlier this season, and Epstein said he likely would be up with the Cubs after a short stay at Triple-A Iowa. Even before the deal, Chicago had one of the richest minor league systems in baseball. The addition of Russell and McKinney just enhances the Cubs impressive group of prospects. "We think we have a real outstanding stable of good young position players that is a stable base to build off," Epstein said. "We like how this positions us." Carson Kelly Jersey . His brother — Red Lake chiropractor Richard Radford — is en route to Sochi to cheer on his younger brother. "Ive been getting texts from Eric and he just says the atmosphere is amazing, its special,” he said. Merrill Kelly Jersey . The best round belonged to Pat Perez. Tiger Woods didnt come close to claiming either Thursday in the Farmers Insurance Open, where the seven-time champion failed to break par in the opening round for first time in his career.CHICAGO -- It took a hard slide for the Kansas City Royals to end their skid. Mike Moustakas scored the tie-breaking run when he jarred the ball out of the catchers glove in the ninth inning and the Royals beat the White Sox 2-1 Wednesday to take the three-game series. Kansas City was victorious for the 12th time in their last 14 starts at U.S. Cellular Field. They also won consecutive games for the first time since July 2-4. They are 5-10 since then. "I feel a lot better leaving Chicago than I did after the first game in Chicago," manager Ned Yost said. "After the problems you run into, you cant lose faith. You cant start panicking. You cant think the ship is sinking. Youve got to stay positive, because these guys have the ability to fight through it and get themselves out of it." Moustakas triggered the decisive rally with a lead-off single off Zach Putnam (3-2), the last of four White Sox pitchers. Alcides Escobar bunted him over before Nori Aoki hit a flare to centre field. Adam Eatons strong throw beat Moustakas to the plate, but catcher Tyler Flowers lost control of the ball upon contact. Flowers was charged with an error on the play. "With the (new) rules, you kind of have to obey them," said Moustakas, who was at a four-inch, 30-pound disadvantage in the matchup. "You dont really think about trying to truck anybody. Thats a big boy behind home plate there. Its probably not a good idea to go that route." Flowers said he thought he had the ball. "The replay looked like his knee on impact was literally straight into the webbing of the glove," Flowers said. "I wish I could have hung onto it, but theres nothing I could do different." Yost liked the jump off second base as much as the slide itself. "(Moustakas) got a tremendous read on Noris base hit," Yost said. "If he doesnt get the read that he had, he doesnt have the opportunity to score." Wade Davis (6-2) pitched one scoreless inning and Greg Holland retired the side in order in the ninth inning for his 26th save in 27 tries. After the teams traded runs in the first inning, starters James Shields and JJose Quintana matched each other for six scoreless innings. Fake Diamondbacks Jerseys. Neither was overwhelming, but both were able to get key outs when necessary. "(Shields) has the ability to make big pitches in crucial situations," Yost said. "Thats why hes our ace." Shields allowed six hits in seven innings He walked one batter and struck out seven. "I just try to go out there every five days and pitch my game no matter where Im at," Shields said. In seven innings, Quintana gave up seven hits and two walks and struck out three batters. He remained winless (0-5) against the Royals in 11 career starts. The no decision was the 36th for Quintana since the 2012 season, the most in the majors. Chicagos Adam Dunn singled to tie the score at 1-1 in the first inning. The hit scored Jose Abreu, who had doubled with two outs. Abreu (sore back) was back in action after a one-game layoff. Eric Hosmers sacrifice fly gave the Royals a 1-0 lead. NOTES: No sooner did Hosmer return to the line-up after a two-game absence than he aggravated his bruised hand on a checked swing and left the game. His status was listed as day to day. ... Davis has not allowed an extra-base hit in 42-2 innings this season. .... Four hitless at-bats left White Sox 2B Gordon Beckham with a .132 batting average since June 9, when he was at his high point (.298) of the season. ... White Sox OF Dayan Viciedo was a late scratch because of tightness in his left hamstring. Moises Sierra replaced him in right field. ... White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper (vertigo) did not accompany the team to Minneapolis for the start of a seven-game road trip. Bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen assumed his duties for the third consecutive game.... White Sox OF Avasail Garcia (shoulder surgery) will accelerate his workout routine on the road trip. No timetable has been set for a rehab assignment. .... In his professional debut, White Sox first-round draft pick Carlos Rendon allowed one run in one inning of relief in the Arizona Rookie League on Tuesday. . . . Wednesday marked the five-year anniversary of Mark Buehrles perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays at U.S. Cellular Field. ' ' '