By Jeffrey Flanagan and Robert Falkoff
MLB.com |@FlannyMLB |
KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz threw eight shutout innings, giving up just seven hits, as the Braves won just their ninth game of the season with a 5-0 victory over the slumping Royals on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.
"He was good, really good," Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar said. "He was throwing 97, sinker and slider. Tough. But we'll get them tomorrow. Time to win a series."
The Royals have lost 13 of their last 18 games.
Right-hander Dillon Gee made his first start for the Royals, and gave them five strong, scoreless innings. But Gee faltered in the sixth, giving up three runs before exiting with one out. Gee went 5 1/3 innings and gave up six hits, while walking three and striking out five.
"Overall, it felt pretty good out there," Gee said. "I just didn't make pitches at the end. I just stopped locating at the end and left pitches up."
Foltynewicz became the first Braves pitcher since Alex Wood on Aug. 31, 2014, to throw at least eight shutout innings with no walks.
"He pitched in, he pitched up," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "With his stamina and endurance, it's a different guy. That's a [heck] of a job."
Foltynewicz, making his third start since being recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett, has now given the Braves 15 innings combined in his last two starts while giving up just two runs.
"I just went out there and attacked," Foltynewicz said. "I let the defense do the work."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED In the clutch: Braves second baseman Johnson, who started the night with just five RBIs, delivered a two-strike, two-run single to give the Braves a 3-0 lead in the sixth. Down in the count, Johnson went the other way with a soft blooper to left that gave Foltynewicz some breathing room. Johnson was hitting in the cleanup spot for just the sixth time this season.
"That was a decent pitch," Gee said. "I threw four straight curveballs, and [the last one] maybe should have bounced, but it stayed up just enough for him to serve it out to left field."
Orlando vying for job: Royals right fielder Paulo Orlando is now being given a chance to grab the starting job, and he took a solid step toward that on Saturday. Orlando shot a single to left in the third inning. He was hit by a pitch in the fifth, but it was called a foul ball (the Royals were out of challenges). He then flew out deep to right-center and then ripped a double to left in the eighth. Orlando is battling Jarrod Dyson for the starting job. More >
Rally derailed: The Royals looked like they were going to jump all over Foltynewicz in the first inning when Lorenzo Cain singled with one out, and stole second. Eric Hosmer then grounded a single to left and Cain had to hold to make sure the ball got past the shortstop, so he advanced only to third. But with first and third and one out, Hosmer was picked off first. Then, Kendrys Morales struck out.
Bat and glove: Speedy young center fielder Mallex Smith showcased his all-around potential to help swing the game in Atlanta's favor. Smith ended the fifth with a tumbling catch on Orlando's drive to preserve a scoreless game. Then, Smith ripped a double to right leading off the sixth to ignite a three-run rally. More >
"He's got some energy to him," Gonzalez said.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Hosmer was picked off at first base by Foltynewicz in the first inning. The Royals challenged, but following a review, the call was ruled as stands.
WHAT'S NEXT Braves: Right-hander Matt Wisler (1-3, 3.27 ERA) will make his first appearance against the Royals in the series finale on Sunday at 2:15 p.m. ET. Four of Wisler's six starts have been quality starts..
Royals: Left-hander Danny Duffy (0-0, 3.00) takes the mound for the Royals on Sunday against the Braves at 1:15 p.m. CT. Duffy is making his first start of the season, filling in for the injured Kris Medlen.