In Game 1 of the doubleheader Wednesday, the Royals almost made history* in their 4-0 win over Cincinnati. To kick off the afternoon, Kansas City handed the ball to Brad Keller, who had opened the season with 11-straight scoreless innings.
The Royals busted out of the gates in the first inning. After Keller retired the Reds in order with two strikeouts in the top half, the offense broke out of their slump in the bottom of the inning. With runners at first and second, Jorge Soler smashed a 106 mph double into the left field corner to give the Royals a 1-0 lead. Soler came in with 16 strikeouts in his last 23 at-bats.
On the next at-bat, Ryan O’Hearn snapped his 0-for-10 skid with a bloop single to right-center field to score Hunter Dozier and Soler.
Back on the bump, Keller took the 3-0 lead and added to his scoreless streak. The 25-year-old right-hander dominated through the first five innings without allowing a hit. His slider baffled Reds hitters all afternoon.
Brad Keller, Wicked 84mph Slider...and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/jce5sbFCpk— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 19, 2020
In the bottom of the fourth, Kansas City managed to chase Luis Castillo from the game. Adalberto Mondesi led off the frame with a single, swiped second base and moved to third on a wild pitch. Whit Merrifield drove him home on a ground ball that snuck into right field to make it 4-0.
Keller’s no-hit* bid ended in top of the sixth when the No. 9 hitter Tucker Barnhart dropped a single into center field to open the inning. The ball had an exit velocity of 82.9. But Keller bounced back and served up a double play ball to end any potential threat.
Mike Matheny sent Keller back out in the seventh to finish the shortened game. However, a pair of singles with two outs forced Matheny to call on Trevor Rosenthal to close out the game. Needing just four pitches, Rosenthal struck out Josh VanMeter to end Game 1.
In Game 2, Matt Harvey made his Royals debut against Trevor Bauer. Despite a strong showing in the early innings from Harvey, the Reds hurt him with the long ball and salvaged the split with a 5-0 victory.
The two arms cruised through their first two innings of work. Harvey, who last pitched in the big leagues in July of 2019, struck out three in two scoreless frames to open the game. His best offering was his fastball, which touched 95 mph. But in the top of the third, Harvey ran into trouble. After collecting the first two outs in the inning, Harvey allowed a single to Nick Castellanos and a two-run bomb to Jesse Winker. Eugenio Suárez followed up Winker with a solo shot to dead center field to make it 3-0. Harvey worked just three innings and allowed three runs on four hits with four strikeouts.
Matt Harvey off to a good start. He strikes out two in his first inning with the #Royals (and even gets a thumbs up from Jesse Winker).— FOX Sports Kansas City (@FSKansasCity) August 20, 2020
Stream: FSGO - https://t.co/VKu8yrg8AT pic.twitter.com/qL6nmuHqak
Trevor Bauer carved up Royals hitters through the first three innings. The former Cleveland Indian sat down the first nine batters with four strikeouts. He allowed his first baserunners on a pair of walks in the bottom of the fourth, but worked around the jam to keep Kansas City scoreless. Castellanos extended the lead to 4-0 on a home run in the top of the fifth off Greg Holland.
In the top of the sixth, Curt Casali smacked Cincinnati’s fourth home run of the night off Gabe Speier to give Bauer a 5-0 lead. In that same inning, Josh Staumont came on in relief and threw the fastest pitch in the MLB this season at 102.2 mph. He hit 102 mph three times in the inning and struck out both hitters he faced.
The split puts the Royals record at 10-15 on the season. After an off-day tomorrow, Kansas City will play host to Minnesota, again, for a three-game series starting Friday. Danny Duffy will get the ball in Game 1. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. CDT.