Volquez enjoys being in zone against Braves

Right-hander fires seven strong innings in bounce-back outing

Volquez enjoys being in zone against Braves

KANSAS CITY -- After Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez's last outing, in which he lasted a season-low 4 1/3 innings against the Indians, he vowed not to be so precise with his approach again.

"Last time in Cleveland, I was all over the place," Volquez said, laughing, after a 5-1 win over the Braves on Friday night. "So I thought this time I'd come out and just throw strikes. And I had good movement on my fastball. I used that a lot. They made contact, too, so it was easy to get some ground balls."

The result was an efficient seven-inning outing from Volquez in the series opener at Kauffman Stadium. He gave up six hits and one run, walked none and struck out two.

The two strikeouts tied a season low, and that didn't bother Volquez one bit.

"No, I don't need them," he said with a chuckle.

Volquez set out to flood the zone with strikes, especially inside, and then make the Braves chase away.

"I kind of went inside and out," Volquez said. "It worked."

Volquez worked out of a couple of jams, one that got started with a rare error by Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, who dropped a fly ball -- his first error in 188 games.

Gordon sought out Volquez after the game.

"[Gordon] came up to me after the game and he said, 'Sorry,'" Volquez said. "I said, 'Sorry for what? You know how many runs you've saved for me?' Guy's got four Gold Gloves."

Volquez's tidy effort saved the bullpen for the most part, and made for a happy manager in Ned Yost, who suffered along with the team through a dreadful 2-5 road trip.

"He threw the ball really well," Yost said. "... and he was making good pitches early in the count. He didn't fall behind. And they put the ball in play."

The Royals are now 17-18, ready to get on a roll, Volquez said.

"It's nice to come back home after losing three games in New York," he said. "It was a good win for us."

"There's no better place to start it than to be at home and win the first game. Got a fresh start, a fresh game. Now we see what happens tomorrow."

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.