Francoeur's four-hit day doesn't slow D-backs

Francoeur's four-hit day doesn't slow D-backs

Francoeur's four-hit day doesn't slow D-backs
KANSAS CITY -- Never before had the Royals faced left-handed pitcher Wade Miley, and they're not in any hurry for an encore, thank you.

Miley reeled off seven shutout innings on Sunday as the Arizona Diamondbacks bit the Royals, 2-0, while a crowd of 24,234 including 391 canines watched on a dog day afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals finished 1-4 on their homestand.

The victory gave Miley a 5-1 record and 2.14 ERA.

"He was really good, as good as advertised," the Royals' Jeff Francoeur said. "Obviously he pounds the strike zone, throws two or three good pitches, and you can see why he's made their starting rotation lately -- 5-1 is pretty darn good."

That comes from the one guy who managed to handle Miley. Francoeur got three hits off him en route to a 4-for-4 day that resulted in him being stranded on the bases each time.

On the other hand, Alcides Escobar's average sank below .300 after a fruitless 0-for-4 against Miley.

"He was throwing very good, keeping the ball and mixing the pitch inside and outside," Escobar said. "This is the first time I'd seen him and he was throwing changeups, curveballs, he was mixing his pitches a lot today."

Right-hander Nate Adcock, pressed into starting duty after an emergency callup, gave the Royals five solid innings. He was summoned from Triple-A Omaha on Saturday when lefty Everett Teaford unexpectedly went on the disabled list and had to be scratched from the assignment.

After four scoreless innings, Adcock was tagged for one run in the fifth inning. Paul Goldschmidt led off with a double against the left-field wall -- the hardest-hit ball off Adcock.

"I fell behind on a first-pitch curveball and then I left a sinker up, and he hit it," Adcock said. "That's one thing I didn't accomplish in the fifth inning, I didn't keep the ball down and for a sinker guy that's very important, and I didn't do it."

Aaron Hill's single got Goldschmidt to third. John McDonald's bunt was bobbled by first baseman Eric Hosmer as Goldschmidt scored.

"It was a safety squeeze and I was coming hard, trying to get the out at home," Hosmer said. "I kind of looked up and saw the runner already getting there so I tried to change momentum and go to first. I looked up and he was already there."

The play was ruled an RBI single because first base was not covered and McDonald would have been safe regardless of the misplay.

If Hosmer had handled the ball cleanly and gone for the plate, Royals manager Ned Yost said: "It would've been real close."

After a force-out moved Hill to third, he tried to score on Ryan Roberts' bouncer, but third baseman Mike Moustakas' throw to catcher Brayan Pena retired Hill. Justin Upton fouled out and the D-backs settled for one run. That ended Adcock's outing after 77 pitches and Yost said he'd "probably" get another start, but that decision was pending.

The D-backs got their second run in flamboyant style with Gerardo Parra upending Pena as he slid into and under him as the catcher received Francoeur's mighty throw.

Reliever Greg Holland walked Parra, Roberts bunted him to second and he reached third on a wild pitch. Upton flied to Francoeur near the right-field line and Frenchy's throw home was strong but a tad high, and Pena had to reach up as Parra hit the dirt and the catcher's legs and crossed the plate safely.

"That is a phenomenal throw," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "That's not a good throw, come on. Right on the money, puts your catcher in a perfect spot to block the plate. That was a great throw."

Francoeur did more than throw the ball. He hit it all over the lot. He singled to center in the second inning and got around to third. No luck. After Butler led off the fourth with a walk, Francoeur singled again to center and both runners moved up as Alex Gordon tapped out. Again Miley prevailed. In the sixth, Francoeur hit a two-out triple off the right-field corner wall but again was stranded.

Francoeur got his fourth hit in the eighth inning, a looper to right, against reliever David Hernandez after Butler was hit by a pitch with two out. That got Butler to third, but Hernandez ended the inning with a strikeout of Gordon. J.J. Putz notched his ninth save with a perfect ninth.

The 4-for-4 from Francoeur gave Yost a reprieve for one of his slumping sluggers. But Gordon and Hosmer went hitless.

"It just shows how quick things can turn around. Frenchy made a bit of an adjustment in the cage this morning, found something, and goes out and gets four hits," Yost said. "We keep working with Gordy, we keep working with Hosmer and Hoz had much better at-bats today. So I think we're on the right track there, we just need to get Gordy going."

All four losses on the homestand were by one or two runs, indicating more boost is needed from the batting order.

"We haven't done what we needed to do," Francoeur said. "Speaking for myself, Gordo, Hoz -- we're feeling like we need to kind of pick it up here. ... Offensively we haven't clicked yet as a team."

Yost keeps waiting. He thinks the pitching has been pretty good lately.

"We're still to a point where we're firing on about six cylinders," Yost said. "I think once we get going on all eight cylinders, we're going to be a good team. ... I think we still have a lot of ceiling left with our team, a lot of room to improve."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.