For two hours, 16 minutes and 23 outs, James Shields silenced this riotous multisport relic. The fans at O.co Coliseum had not witnessed the Oakland Athletics lose a series here since May. With two outs in the eighth inning on Sunday, the flag-waving, drum-thumping masses here sensed their last, best chance to avoid that fate.

The second solo home run of the day by Oakland outfielder Josh Reddick had halved the Royals lead. A subsequent single delivered the tying run to the plate in the form of Alberto Callapso. Shields allowed the tumult to last four pitches, long enough for chants to echo through East Bay, before grounding Callaspo out with a cutter.

The volume plummeted, never rising that high again in a 4-2 Royals victory, muted by a tenacious effort from the leader of Kansas City’s rotation, who logged eight innings for just the second time this season. Shields (10-6, 3.43 ERA) walked off the mound conversing with replacement first baseman Billy Butler. He showed no joy until catcher Salvador Perez lumbered over, clapping his hands, embracing his teammate and reminding of the moment’s gravity: The Royals were about to claim a series victory over the best team in baseball.

“As far as I’m concerned, we can match up with anyone,” Shields said. “Any team. Any starting rotation. I don’t care who it is.”