It took until his fifth start of the season, but Royals starter Ian Kennedy got some run support early on in a game.
The Royals scored two runs off Twins starter Kyle Gibson in the second inning Friday, giving Kennedy a lead for the first time all season. He entered the game at Kauffman Stadium with a major-league low 0.69 run support average. His teammates had plated a meager two runs in his previous four starts.
But Friday’s lead didn’t last long enough. The Royals yet again wasted a stellar effort from Kennedy. The hunt for his first win since Sept. 11 against the White Sox in Chicago continues.
“It’s tough,” Kennedy said. “I was hoping we would get a little bit better start our first game back from a long road trip, but I think we’ve still got a long home stand to play in and I hope we rattle a few wins off here. ...We’ve been throwing the ball.”
“Jack’s been throwing the ball great, just had a tough one tonight,” Kennedy added of Royals relief pitcher Joakim Soria, who gave up four runs, three of them earned, in the eighth inning when the Twins took control of what turned out to be a 6-4 win for them.
Kennedy didn’t stay in the game long enough to record a fourth straight quality start. He’d already thrown 93 pitches through five innings when he came back out for the sixth. The most Kennedy had thrown this season was 111 in an eight-inning no decision against the Los Angeles Angels on April 16.
On Friday, he allowed two runs and two walks while striking out six in what became his third consecutive no decision.
Kennedy took three more pitches to retire Brian Dozier, who’d grounded out in his two previous at-bats. But when Max Kepler stroked a single into center field, Ned Yost yanked Kennedy in the sixth in favor of Peter Moylan.
Moylan struck out Miguel Sano, who had homered off Kennedy in the fourth.
Matt Strahm then got Joe Mauer to sky a fastball outside the zone into center field to end the inning. Kennedy could relax knowing he at least wouldn’t get tagged with his third loss of the season.
“I wish I had been a little more efficient like I was in the first couple of innings,” Kennedy said. “Walked a couple of guys later on and eventually got 3-2 counts and a couple foul balls here and there, and the next thing you know your pitch count is all the way up to 100 real quick.”
But Strahm’s effort wasn’t enough to temper an eighth-inning implosion in which Soria allowed back-to-back doubles as the Twins scored four times for a 6-4 lead.