Hot-hitting KC hands Crew 5th straight loss
KANSAS CITY -- The Interleague series shifted from Miller Park to Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday, but the result remained the same. The Royals scored at least seven runs against Brewers pitching for the third straight night in a 10-2 win, helping Joe Blanton emerge from his first Major League start in nearly two years with a victory, while Ned Yost tied Whitey Herzog for the most managerial wins in franchise history.
"It was about what I expected. Joe's been throwing the ball really, really well," Yost said. "Going into it, the game plan was to see if we could get him through five innings, between 70 and 80 pitches with the lead, and it all worked out perfectly."
Blanton allowed only one run in five effective innings and saw Royals batters cobble together a trio of big innings -- three runs each in the second and fifth innings, and four more in an eighth highlighted by Alcides Escobar's three-run triple. Escobar, Lorenzo Cain and Kendrys Morales each had two hits and were among the six Kansas City batters to drive in a run against Brewers starter Mike Fiers, who entered the night with a 2.97 ERA over his previous seven starts. He surrendered six earned runs in five innings.
The Royals have won the first three of four scheduled games between the teams this week by a combined score of 25-9. Kansas City maintained its 3 1/2-game lead over second-place Minnesota in the American League Central.
"Any given night in Major League Baseball, you can go out and get your [behind] whipped," Yost said. "We don't take any team ... lightly. We come out and just try to play winning baseball every single night."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Worth the wait: Blanton threw 73 pitches to nab his first win of the season, allowing just one run and no walks in five innings after pitching seven games exclusively in relief this season. The 10-year veteran took time away from baseball and missed the entire 2014 season before attempting a comeback in 2015 with the Royals.
"It looks like, taking a year off, his arm is 'live-r' almost," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "There's more life to his stuff. It was kind of like the younger Joe Blanton, almost." More >
Second gear: Carlos Gomez served as the Brewers' designated hitter after missing the previous two games with discomfort in his right hip, an issue that has lingered this season. It was clear he was short of full speed when he trotted to second base for a second-inning double, but the hit helped the Brewers find their way to the scoreboard first, when Gomez scored on Scooter Gennett's two-out triple.
"[Gomez] said during the game he didn't feel anything," Counsell said. "He was just using caution."
Second-inning surge: The Royals erased a 1-0 Brewers lead with four hits and three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Alex Rios, Omar Infante and Escobar drove in a run apiece in the rally, giving the Royals more runs in their first 21 innings against the Brewers (18) than in their previous six games combined (17).
Dandy defense: Brewers center fielder Gerardo Parra helped Fiers stay out of trouble in the fourth inning with a sensational over-the-shoulder catch of a Rios fly ball. After Parra made the play at the warning track with his back to the infield, the Royals faithful rewarded him with a respectful ovation.
"I didn't think I got it," Parra said. "When I felt the ball in my glove, I felt good."
"It's not an effort thing. I think that's the wrong thing to say. We want to play baseball where the other team has to beat us. [When the Brewers lose], I want the other team to beat us. I want to make sure we're doing everything we can to make it hard on that other team to beat us." -- Counsell, addressing whether his team's effort has lagged of late
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Brewers have a pair of quality defenders behind the plate in catchers Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado but are on pace to set a franchise record for wild pitches in a season. Fiers was charged with three on Wednesday, giving the Brewers a National League-most 34 wild pitches in 67 games, on pace for 82 over 162 games. The franchise record is 71, set in 2010. More >
Counsell won a challenge in the sixth inning after first-base umpire Jeff Nelson ruled Escobar safe on an infield hit. After a review, the call was overturned, ending the inning.
Brewers: Coming off a start against the Nationals in which he surrendered a career-high 10 hits and afterward called his inconsistency this season "unacceptable," Jimmy Nelson will start fresh against the Royals on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. CT. He's never faced a single Kansas City batter.
Royals: Jeremy Guthrie looks to rebound from his last outing in his start against the Brewers on Thursday night at 7:10 CT in the series finale at Kauffman Stadium. Guthrie is 1-2 at home this season and hasn't won a decision since May 20, against Cincinnati. He has made four starts since then.
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