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Royals follow 5-run 3rd inning to win over Braves

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A big inning highlighted by a Bubba Starling little league home run helped KC to their 58th win of 2019.

Atlanta Braves v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

In the top of the first inning, some mild baseball stuff happened, but also Rex Hudler shared that he just learned the word “contrarian” after hearing someone describe manager Ned Yost that way. Whit Merrifield led things off with a 13th-pitch battle that ended in a double. He would later score on a sacrifice fly by Hunter Dozier, and the Royals held a lead of varying sizes for the rest of the game.

Leading off the top of the 3rd for Atlanta was not starting center fielder Ronald Acuña, Jr. but former Royal Billy Hamilton in his stead. It was later revealed that Acuña had some tightness in his right hip, something playoff-bound Atlanta chose to approach with caution.

The home half of the third started with a walk to Jorge Soler, a single by Hunter Dozier, and then an RBI single by Alex Gordon to drive Soler home. After Ryan McBroom was hit by a pitch, Dozier came around to score on a sacrifice fly to left by Ryan O’Hearn. Bubba Starling was the next Royal to come to the plate, and he smacked a double to the base of the wall in left center. Gordon and McBroom scored, and Starling ran for third when the ball was thrown home. Atlanta catcher Brian McCann tried to nag Starling there, but his throw to third shot all the way down the base line, and Starling got home to complete the little league home run. That made it 6-0 Kansas City, and time for Atlanta starter Julio Teheran to make his exit.

Atlanta got on the board in the 4th inning, when Nick Markakis doubled to send home Ozzie Albies, who had also doubled. Fransisco Cervelli hit a solo homer in the 5th, and Danny Duffy issued a walk to Markakis with the bases loaded to tighten to score a bit at 6-3. However, Duffy escaped further damage and left three Braves on the bases.

Ryans McBroom and O’Hearn scored in the bottom half of the inning. McBroom singled, and then scored from first on an O’Hearn double. Nicky Lopez drove O’Hearn in to restore the five-run lead.

The Royals did not score in the 6th, but Soler hit his 33rd double of the season, and Gordon got hit by a pitch for the second time of the night. Gordon’s 19 HBP leads the league, but he will have to crowd the plate a whole lot this week if he wants to match the Royals’ record of 23 by David DeJesus.

Kansas City added an insurance run to make it 9-3 in the 7th, on a double by Lopez that drove home Starling, who had also doubled. That was Lopez’s third hit of the game.

Atlanta scored in the 8th on a throwing error by Hunter Dozier, making it 9-4.

Ian Kennedy allowed a leadoff single to Billy Hamilton, followed by a 2-run home run by Ozzie Albies to bring the score to an uncomfortable 9-6 with no outs. Josh Donaldson followed that up with a single, but Markakis hit into a double play. Adam Duvall popped out to end the game and seal the Royals win.

Duffy picked up the ‘W’ with five innings pitched, three runs allowed, a pair of walks, and five strikeouts. Kevin McCarthy was great in relief, allowing just one hit and throwing only 24 pitches in two shutout innings. Eight of the nine Royals hitters had at least one hit.

The Royals are 58-100.