Ventura gives KC's staff much-needed stability

Righty's mechanical tweaks pay dividends, allowing bullpen to rest

Ventura gives KC's staff much-needed stability

NEW YORK -- A much more relaxed Ned Yost sat in the manager's office after the Royals set down the Yankees, 7-3, on Wednesday night.

Yost finally got a starter other than Ian Kennedy to give him at least five innings, as right-hander Yordano Ventura tamed the Yankees on six hits and three runs over six. That allowed Yost's overworked bullpen to have to pitch "only" three innings.

Other than Kennedy's seven-inning outing on Saturday, the Royals had not seen their starting pitcher make it through five innings since May 2.

"Ventura pitched great," Yost said. "He had a good curveball and threw it effectively and used it for strikes.

"He limited the damage really well. We didn't have any long guy today, and we needed him to at least get us [to] the fifth."

Other Royals took notice, too.

Cain's two-run single

"We needed it because the bullpen has really worked a lot lately," said center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who took some pressure off Ventura with a two-out, two-run single in the sixth to give the Royals a 6-3 lead. "Ventura picked us up."

Ventura said he was well aware of what was at stake.

"That was my mentality since last night," Ventura said through interpreter Pedro Grifol. "I was thinking about [the overtaxed bullpen]. I knew I had to go deep into the game and help the bullpen. It needed help."

The Royals staked Ventura to a 4-0 lead in the first, and although he wobbled at times, the right-hander got through trouble. Ventura came into the game with a Major League-most 25 walks allowed. But he limited his free passes to three on Wednesday.

"I was struggling a little with my release point in previous starts," Ventura said. "But I worked a lot with [pitching coach] Dave [Eiland] between starts, and I'm going to keep working going forward."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.