A day after hitting his fifth home run of the season, Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas completed his fourth multi-hit game of 2014 in a 4-1 victory over the Indians.
Moustakas roped a double to start a two-run inning in the third. He looped a single in the fourth to contribute to another scoring rally. In the process, he boosted his batting average to .164.
This may not seem like much. But it actually marks Moustakas’ season high. He is hitting .205 since returning from Class AAA Omaha on June 1.
“For the most part, I’m seeing some results,” Moustakas said. “I just want to keep putting the ball in play, hard, and whatever happens, happens.”
To manager Ned Yost, Moustakas’ third at-bat was just as encouraging. Moustakas swatted a hard groundball into the Indians’ shift. But he did so against left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski. “Moose is starting to swing the bat much, much better,” Yost said.
Easy call for Yost
Yordano Ventura needed only 85 pitches to complete seven innings on Wednesday. Holding a three-run lead, Yost did not hesitate to remove him for the eighth inning.
“Facing that order for the fourth time, him at 85 pitches, I’ve got Wade Davis and Greg Holland down,” Yost said. “It was a simple decision.”
Davis loaded the bases, but emerged unscathed. Ventura was efficient and effective all afternoon. He gave up only six hits, and struck out three.
In his second start since missing action with a sore elbow, his fastball remained a weapon. He eschewed his curveball and changeup, for the most part, and relied on a heater averaging 97 mph, according to Pitch f/x data.
“He went over there with the mentality to throw a lot of strikes,” said Bruce Chen, who translates for Ventura. “He went out there and pounded the strike zone. And he knew something good was going to happen if he kept throwing strikes.”
Cain sits out
With a scheduled day off on Thursday, manager Ned Yost saw an opportunity to give center fielder Lorenzo Cain a chance to rest for two consecutive days. So Cain sat out on Wednesday afternoon. Jarrod Dyson started in his place. Dyson went one for three with a sacrifice fly.