At first, it was "just get them off the West Coast." Next, it was "just get them back to Kauffman Stadium." And most recently, it was "just play the last-place Yankees."
Thanks to another solid start from Edinson Volquez, the Royals are one victory away from snapping a five-series losing streak. Kansas City's offense plated a run in each of the first two innings against Julio Teheran, and a big eighth inning locked away the Royals' first series-opening win since April 22.
In the bottom of the first, Alcides Escobar singled to right, but an error on old friend Jeff Francoeur allowed him to advance all the way to third. The ball skipped between Francoeur's legs, which was reminisent of some of his fielding woes Royals fans experienced in 2011 and 2012. Escobar would score on the next play, which was an RBI groundout by Lorenzo Cain.
Kansas City doubled its lead in the home half of the second inning. Cheslor Cuthbert, immediately after making a sensational, bare-handed play to end the Braves' second, doubled down the left-field line. After Omar Infante popped out, Paulo Orlando was beaned, and Escobar came through with a two-out, opposite field single. Cuthbert crossed the plate to make it 2-0, Royals.
The score remained constant for the next several innings. Teheran, widely considered to be the Braves best pitcher, settled in to throw five straight scoreless innings. The Royals managed just one hit from innings three through seven.
Meanwhile, Volquez, coming off a game where he failed to register five innings, turned in one of his finest starts as a Royal. He took a shutout into the seventh inning before allowing the first to Braves to reach, and one of them came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Erick Aybar. He needed just 83 pitches to work 7.0 innings, taking advantage of the least patient lineup in all of baseball. Volquez scattered six hits, struck out two, walked none, and allowed the one run.
Volquez (4-3) earned the win. Teheran (0-4) took the loss. Teheran's line: 7.0 innings, four hits, three walks, five strieouts, and two runs (one of which was unearned).
The Royals offense came through with insurance in the eighth inning. Facing Hunter Cervenka, who had retired 30 straight batters entering Friday night, Kansas City opened the frame by putting three straight men on base. Cain led off with a single, and he advanced to second on an error. Eric Hosmer drew a walk, Cain stole third, and Kendrys Morales blooped a single into center field to make it 3-1. Jarrod Dyson pinch ran for Morales, and both Hosmer and he scored on a two-run single by Salvador Perez.
After getting loose in the bullpen, Wade Davis was able to get the night off following the three-run eighth inning. Joakim Soria handled the top of the ninth for Kansas City. He struck out the side.
The Royals, who are now 16-17, improved to 10-5 at Kauffman Stadium. They'll have their third opportunity of the week to get back to .500 tomorrow. Dillon Gee will make his first start as a Royal, filling in for the injured Chris Young. He will be opposed by Mike Foltynewicz (0-1, 5.06 ERA). It is Ned Yost Bobblehead Night at the K, so there are likely already people lining up outside of the stadium to grab the antique.