KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy came oh-so-close to not even starting Friday night's series opener against the D-backs at Kaufmann Stadium.
Manager Ned Yost believed that with all of Kennedy's injury issues this season, there wasn't much point in pushing Kennedy through a final start of the season. But Kennedy convinced Yost to give him the start. And Kennedy responded with his best start since July 26 by holding the D-backs to four hits and one run through five innings in a 2-1 win. He struck out seven.
"I talked with Ian three days before this start and said, 'Look, I don't see any reason to start you in this game,'" Yost said. "And he said, 'Look, I feel really good. If I start this game, it'll be eight straight years with 30 starts.' It's a good goal, shows you got durability.
"So I told him, 'I'll start you, but if I see something I don't like, I'm going to come and get you.'"
Yost didn't have to do that until after the fifth inning with the Royals holding a one-run lead.
"It was so close," Kennedy said of not starting. "I said, 'Can I just go out there? I don't care if you take me out in the second inning. It still counts as a start.' But I really obviously wanted to do well and give our team a chance, go five at least."
In the process, Kennedy also ended his dubious club record of 18 straight winless starts at home.
"I think it was August when I found out I hadn't won at home," Kennedy said. "I was like, 'I'll get one, I'll get one.' And then I forgot all about it. It's been such an up and down year health-wise. ... All I care about is if we win as a team.
"But I remember my wife said [this morning], 'Today would be a good day to end the streak."
Kennedy had to sit through four innings in the dugout as the Royals' bullpen sealed the win.
"Now that I knew about [the streak], it's nice to get that monkey off my back and stop talking about it," Kennedy said. "Maybe next year hopefully, I can get that one out of the way, get the first one out of the way and win that one."
But Yost hinted that the winless home streak wasn't as dubious as one would think.
"It's a little deceiving because he had some great starts in April and May and we just didn't score for him," Yost said.
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.