Royals

Royals batter Brewers, 8-5, as offense breaks out

The Royals' Lorenzo Cain is congratulated by Mike Moustakas after hitting a two-run home run during the fifth inning of Monday’s baseball game against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
The Royals' Lorenzo Cain is congratulated by Mike Moustakas after hitting a two-run home run during the fifth inning of Monday’s baseball game against the Brewers in Milwaukee. AP

Inside the Royals bullpen, as Monday’s ninth inning began, Wade Davis fell into conversation with Kelvin Herrera. He spat some sunflower seeds. He watched Brandon Finnegan throw a side session. Occasionally he glanced toward the diamond, where he noticed a couple runners had reached base against closer Greg Holland. His night, he assumed, was over.

“I was pretty much shut down,” Davis said.

There was little reason to expect any action. When Holland entered the game, the Royals led by six runs. When he exited, five batters later, the lead had dwindled to three and the tying run stood at the plate. By then, manager Ned Yost had already rang the bullpen phone. The Royals needed Davis to rescue them.

He would do so, securing the save in an 8-5 victory, but the first few steps were hairy. At the plate was former MVP Ryan Braun. Davis threw his first three fastballs as hard as he could, just so he could loosen up his arm. With the count at 3-0, Davis fired three strikes in a row to punch out Braun. His last fastball clocked at 97 mph, low and away, and Braun could not stop his swing. Davis collected the next two outs in four pitches.

“That’s a big security blanket,” Yost said.” What Wade did was phenomenal.”

The performance from Holland, who had not pitched in six days, was the lone sour note on the evening after a dynamic performance by the offense of the Royals (35-25). After two tough outings in St. Louis, the team responded by thrashing one of the National League’s weakest units.

Kansas City scored more than four runs for only the second time in the last 13 games. During this cold spell, which Yost likes to refer to as a “quiet bat period,” the team still maintained its lead in the American League Central. They can feast on these Brewers for the next three nights, including two at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday.

All eight regulars collected hits on Monday. Mike Moustakas walked three times and scored twice. Alcides Escobar scored the game’s first run and notched two RBI singles. Alex Rios pocketed two hits and so did Omar Infante. The productivity looked contagious.

Edinson Volquez (6-4, 3.10 ERA) contributed five innings of work. He gave up six hits and walked two. The Brewers could only scratch two runs off him. He was removed for a pinch hitter in the top of the sixth.

“All my pitches were there tonight,” Volquez said.

Yost stared across the diamond at the dugout he called home for nearly six full seasons. Milwaukee fired him with two weeks left in the 2008 season. Before Monday night, he had visited Miller Park twice in the intervening years: Once, in 2009, to return a car the club leased him through that year, and again for an exhibition series before last season.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin always felt remorse about axing Yost, and the two remain close. Melvin visited Yost at the Royals’ hotel after the team arrived in town on Sunday night. Yost walked into the ballpark the next day as the manager of the defending American League champions, the steward of the Central division leaders and the skipper of the upcoming All Star Game.

The Royals pounced on Brewers starter Kyle Lohse in the first. Lohse opened the door when he clipped Alcides Escobar with a fastball. Escobar was running toward second when Mike Moustakas laced a 90-mph fastball up the middle. The liner caught shortstop Hector Gomez flat-footed.

As Escobar reached third, third-base coach Mike Jirschele decided to send him home. Escobar beat the throw from center fielder Gerardo Parra. Umpire Laz Diaz disagreed. After a lengthy review, the call was overturned. Two at-bats into the game, the Royals had a lead they would not relinquish.

The first-inning scoring had just begun. Eric Hosmer punched a single into center field. Moustakas rolled home from second. A single by Salvador Perez advanced Hosmer to third. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Alex Gordon.

Volquez inherited a three-run lead. He granted the Brewers plenty of chances to crack him. Milwaukee flooded the bases with traffic all evening.

In the first, Volquez allowed singles to catcher Jonathan Lucroy and outfielder Ryan Braun. Then, with one out, he induced a double play from first baseman Adam Lind.

Lohse slipped a single through the infield two innings later. A double from Parra brought Lohse to third. He could not advance. Lucroy lined out to third. Braun tapped a hanging curveball toward Moustakas for an inning-ending groundout.

“I’m experienced,” Volquez said. “Old. I’ve been in that situation many times in my career. I don’t take that like a big deal for me. I just try to make the right pitch, and keep the ball down.”

The coming frames brought more of the same. At last the Brewers broke through in the fifth, minutes after Cain’s blast cleared the fence. Volquez hit Gomez with a pitch and yielded a single to pinch-hitter Hernan Perez. Lucroy cracked a two-run double to erase any hope of a shutout.

Kansas City presented an immediate response. They strung together a trio of singles – from Alex Gordon, Alex Rios and Omar Infante – to load the bases for Kendrys Morales. His double play netted one run. A flare from Escobar to left brought home a second. The lead returned to five runs.

Holland inherited a six-run advantage. Yost blamed himself for his closer’s performance. He gave up a single to outfielder Shane Peterson, a double to Gomez and a two-single to pinch-hitter Martin Maldonado. After Parra walked, Lucroy doubled in a run on a hanging, 0-2 slider.

“My stuff today was as good as its been all year,” Holland said. “I just made some bad mistakes, especially in a couple of counts that I was ahead in.”

It was up to Davis to hold the line. He came through when the club needed him.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4730 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @McCulloughStar. Download True Blue, The Star’s free Royals app, here.


Royals 8, Brewers 5

Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

A.Escobar ss

4

1

2

2

0

0

.259

Moustakas 3b

2

2

1

1

3

0

.320

L.Cain cf

5

1

2

2

0

0

.287

Hosmer 1b

5

1

1

1

0

1

.296

S.Perez c

5

0

2

0

0

0

.288

Butera c

0

0

0

0

0

0

.167

A.Gordon lf

4

1

1

1

0

0

.259

Rios rf

4

1

2

0

0

0

.214

Infante 2b

4

1

2

0

0

0

.210

Volquez p

2

0

0

0

0

2

.000

b-K.Morales ph

1

0

0

0

0

0

.279

F.Morales p

0

0

0

0

0

0

Madson p

0

0

0

0

0

0

d-J.Dyson ph

1

0

0

0

0

0

.250

Frasor p

0

0

0

0

0

0

G.Holland p

0

0

0

0

0

0

W.Davis p

0

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

37

8

13

7

3

3

Milwaukee

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

G.Parra cf

4

0

1

0

1

1

.277

Lucroy c

4

0

2

3

1

0

.218

Braun rf

4

0

1

0

1

1

.261

Lind 1b

5

0

1

0

0

1

.287

Ar.Ramirez 3b

5

0

0

0

0

1

.212

Gennett 2b

4

0

1

0

0

0

.193

S.Peterson lf

3

1

1

0

1

1

.192

H.Gomez ss

3

2

1

0

0

2

.206

Lohse p

1

0

1

0

0

0

.136

a-H.Perez ph

1

1

1

0

0

0

.125

Cotts p

0

0

0

0

0

0

c-J.Rogers ph

1

0

0

0

0

0

.263

Blazek p

0

0

0

0

0

0

.333

W.Smith p

0

0

0

0

0

0

e-Maldonado ph

1

1

1

2

0

0

.180

Totals

36

5

11

5

4

7

Royals

300

022

010

8

13

0

Brewers

000

020

003

5

11

0

a-singled for Lohse in the 5th. b-grounded into a double play for Volquez in the 6th. c-grounded out for Cotts in the 6th. d-grounded out for Madson in the 8th. e-singled for W.Smith in the 9th.

LOB: Kansas City 7, Milwaukee 9. 2B: Rios (3), Infante (12), G.Parra (14), Lucroy 2 (3), H.Gomez (11). HR: L.Cain (5), off Lohse. RBIs: A.Escobar 2 (20), Moustakas (21), L.Cain 2 (26), Hosmer (37), A.Gordon (30), Lucroy 3 (8), Maldonado 2 (12). SF: A.Gordon.

Runners left in scoring position: Kansas City 3 (Volquez, L.Cain 2);Milwaukee 7 (Lind 2, Braun 2, J.Rogers, Ar.Ramirez 2). RISP: Kansas City 4 for 10;Milwaukee 3 for 13. Runners moved up: J.Dyson, G.Parra. GIDP: A.Gordon, K.Morales, Lind, Gennett. DP: Kansas City 2 (Moustakas, A.Escobar, Hosmer), (Hosmer, A.Escobar);Milwaukee 2 (H.Gomez, Gennett, Lind), (Lind, Ar.Ramirez, Lind).

Royals

I

H

R

ER

W

K

P

ERA

Volquez W, 6-4

5

6

2

2

2

2

78

3.10

F.Morales

1

1

0

0

1

1

18

2.70

Madson

1

0

0

0

0

1

14

2.00

Frasor

1

0

0

0

0

2

14

0.47

G.Holland

0

4

3

3

1

0

18

3.52

W.Davis S, 8

1

0

0

0

0

1

10

0.32

Brewers

I

H

R

ER

W

K

P

ERA

Lohse L, 3-8

5

5

5

5

2

2

100

6.44

Cotts

1

4

2

2

1

0

25

4.61

Blazek

2

3

1

1

0

1

32

1.27

W.Smith

1

1

0

0

0

0

12

1.59

G.Holland pitched to 5 batters in the 9th.

Inherited runners-scored: W.Davis 2-0. HBP: by Volquez (H.Gomez), by Lohse (A.Escobar). WP: G.Holland, Cotts.

Umpires: Home, Laz Diaz; First, Chris Guccione; Second, Clint Fagan; Third, Jeff Nelson. Time: 3:19. Att: 23,007.

Related stories from Kansas City Star

  Comments