Blanton fires blanks to protect rest of 'pen

Longtime starter works 3 1/3 shutout innings in relief of Ventura

Blanton fires blanks to protect rest of 'pen

KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Joe Blanton might not have gotten a save in the box score, but he did help save something for the Royals in a 4-2 Rangers victory Saturday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.

After ace Yordano Ventura gave up four runs in three innings, Blanton started the fourth and allowed just three hits in 3 1/3 innings with four strikeouts.

As a result, Blanton's performance kept other relievers -- such as Wade Davis, Greg Holland and Ryan Madson -- fresh for the coming days.

"That was, for me, one of the highlights of our day," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He was banging strikes, he was moving the ball around, and he was changing speeds. He was on the attack with all his stuff.

"For him, coming in, third day in a row, doing what he did, was huge for us today."

Yost on Ventura, Blanton

Blanton pitched a shutout inning in each of the Royals' previous two games, totaling two strikeouts and no walks.

"Coming in right there, you have a couple jobs really," Blanton said. "One is try to hold it close and hopefully we can chip away, and the next is eat as many innings as you can so not everybody has to throw, so everybody is fresh for tomorrow."

Blanton, who has started 248 of his 271 career games, said going three consecutive days didn't make his arm feel much different from what he is used to doing.

"It's kind of my first time really being in the bullpen," Blanton said. "It's different, but yeah … I feel like I would after a start right now."

Jordan Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.