Ventura dodges big trouble in bounce-back start

Royals righty works out of early jams, exits in position to get the win

Ventura dodges big trouble in bounce-back start

CLEVELAND -- In the series opener against the Indians on Thursday, Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura wasn't perfect. He found himself in trouble in a couple of innings, surrendering two runs (one earned) through the first third of the game.

However, he worked out of the problem spots and limited the damage when necessary over the course of his outing. Ventura put the team in position to win, though the Royals would eventually fall, 5-4, when the Indians scored two runs in the ninth.

"I thought Ventura threw the ball very well," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It was a good outing for him."

In the second inning, Ventura quickly surrendered three hits and a run. But with two runners in scoring position and no outs, he managed to escape the inning without allowing another run.

In the third inning, he ran into similar trouble. With another run already across and two men on base, Ventura got Indians catcher Yan Gomes to ground into a forceout, keeping the game deadlocked at 2.

"I felt aggressive from the start of the game," Ventura said through translator Pedro Grifol. "I had a couple hiccups, but I made a couple of adjustments and was able to finish strong."

Sure enough, Yost credited Ventura with how he pitched the fifth and sixth innings, saying those were his sharpest.

All in all, Ventura allowed just two hits after the third inning. He lost a little bit of his velocity, as he stopped reaching 98-99 mph with his fastball, but managed to show a bit more control with his pitches.

"I made adjustments and tried to throttle back a little bit," Ventura said. "That helped."

Ventura ended up going six-plus innings, allowing just one earned run. It was the first time since April 24 that he managed to hold the opposing team to fewer than three earned runs. His ERA for May was 6.59.

Yost agreed it was nice to see the young pitcher bounce back after a rough last outing against the White Sox, against whom he gave up a season-high six earned runs.

"He really did a great job limiting the damage," Yost said. "[He] got us into the seventh inning [and] had the chance to get the win."

Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.