Ventura outduels Cueto as Royals blank Reds

Ventura outduels Cueto as Royals blank Reds

KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura silenced the Reds on four hits through seven shutout innings, and Mike Moustakas delivered two RBI doubles in a 3-0 win on a rainy Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Ventura needed just 88 pitches to get through seven. He walked none and struck out six. More >

"He stayed within his mechanics," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He had all three pitches going and he used them all effectively. I think five of the seven strikeouts he had were on changeups. Tremendous job.

"He was really on top of his game. Just pounding the strike zone."

Reds manager Bryan Price could tell quickly that it was going to be a challenging night for the Cincinnati offense.

"We knew rather early with Ventura that he was locked in," Price said. "He was in the zone with the fastball and changeup and kept his curveball down."

Moustakas' second RBI double

Moustakas had three hits, including a run-scoring double in the fifth and another in the seventh. Moustakas raised his average to .331.

"He's just having tremendous at-bats," Yost said. "We talk about pitchers staying in their mechanics and he really is staying in his mechanics."

Johnny Cueto turned in a quality start for the Reds, going seven innings and giving up nine hits and three runs. More >

Cueto goes seven innings

Two-out hit from Infante: The Royals looked like they were heading for a big inning in the second when Eric Hosmer singled and Kendrys Morales walked leading off. Cueto proceeded to strike out the next two hitters, but then, Infante roped a single to left, plating Hosmer with the game's first run.

"That was huge," Yost said. "When you have two great pitchers, you know runs will be tough to come by. If you can scratch across one early, that's huge."

Infante's RBI single

Moose still on loose: Moustakas singled to left in the third inning and then came up with Paulo Orlando on second and one out in the fifth. Moustakas jumped on a high changeup from Cueto and ripped a double into the right-field corner, scoring Orlando easily. That gave the Royals a 2-0 lead. Moustakas then added another RBI double in the seventh, this one went to left-center field.

Moustakas' RBI double

Moustakas had never faced Cueto before.

"It's almost an advantage because he doesn't know you very well, either," Moustakas said. "He's got that little quick-pitch thing -- it's almost like he's got four extra pitches because he does it with all four pitches. You really have to stay on his fastball."

No Zack Attack: After the first two hitters singled to open the third with Cincinnati down, 1-0, manager Bryan Price chose to sacrifice with Billy Hamilton and give Zack Cozart an RBI opportunity with runners at second and third. But Cozart, who started the night with the National League's best road average at .403, tapped weakly to third before Brayan Pena struck out.

"It shows what you can do when you have a plus-fastball, plus-changeup combination," Price said of Ventura. "He did a nice job of changing speeds. You have to gear for 97 to 99 velocity and also slow it down with that changeup."

Reds: The Reds are hopeful that right-hander Jason Marquis (3-3, 6.63 ERA) will bounce back with a strong start on Wednesday in the series finale at 8:10 p.m. ET after allowing a combined five homers in his previous two outings. Marquis had been 3-1 before the recent difficulties.

Royals: Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (3-2, 5.44 ERA) takes the hill in the series finale on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Guthrie went five innings and got the win against Texas in his last start. He is 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA in his career vs. the Reds.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. Robert Falkoff is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.