That was a really, really fun baseball game.
The Royals beat the Brewers, 2-0, in a game that felt both very short and very long at the same time. The pitching shined, the offense came through late, and we got to see a couple of ejections, which is always fun!
Kris Bubic is the hero, as he made his first start of the season and proved to be nearly unhittable. He twirled six shutout innings, surrendering just one hit, which came in the third inning and honestly could have been called an error. Bubic also sat out for about 30 minutes during a brief rain delay in the second inning, but he didn’t have any problems getting back in gear. He threw 85 pitches to get his 18 outs, walking two and striking out four.
While he didn’t earn the win, he was masterful, and his ERA is now a minuscule 0.96. He gave up two runs in his first appearance of the season back on May 2, but he has since thrown 17.2 consecutive scoreless innings.
Equally brilliant was Milwaukee ace Brandon Woodruff, who matched Bubic and the Royals’ bullpen to take a scoreless game into the eighth inning. It was a weird game in the sense that there were essentially zero threats all night by either offense, as the two teams combined for just eight hits total. The Royals had a two-on, two-out chance in the sixth, but it was extinguished without harm. In the eighth, the first two Royals were retired before Whit Merrifield walked and Carlos Santana was hit by a pitch. This marked the end of the line for Woodruff, who watched in agony as the Milwaukee bullpen allowed both men to score and break the scoreless tie.
Andrew Benintendi, who has been as good as anyone in the lineup lately, dropped a single into right-center to score Merrifield. Next was Salvador Perez, who hit a routine groundball to short, but Luis Urias made a high throw that pulled the first baseman off the bag, allowing Perez to reach and Santana to score. The 2-0 lead was all the Royals would need.
Following a rough series in Chicago, the Kansas City bullpen was both rested and really good. Scott Barlow relieved Bubic and shut down Milwaukee in the seventh. Tyler Zuber and Jake Brentz tag-teamed the eighth. Josh Staumont worked around a one-out single by old friend Lorenzo Cain to slam the door.
Fireworks in the ninth: Avisail Garcia was hitting with two outs and one on in the ninth, and he checked his swing at a breaking ball in the dirt. The first-base umpire incorrectly ruled that he swung, which caused Garcia and manager Craig Counsell to lose their minds and get thrown out of the game. Poor Daniel Vogelbach had to come off the bench with two strikes and two outs against Josh Staumont, and the at-bat predictably ended with a quick strikeout. Staumont’s save was his fourth.
Jake Brentz earned the win, despite only throwing five pitches. He is 1-0.
How good were the Milwaukee uniforms? Those are just wonderful. I dig the retro look. It was also great to see Lorenzo Cain back at Kauffman Stadium; he got a really nice ovation as he dug in to hit in the first inning.
The Royals are 19-22. They’ve won three of five since the losing streak, and they have a chance to sweep the brief two-game series tomorrow. Brad Keller will oppose another excellent young Brewers starter in Corbin Burnes, who has an unfathomably 58:1 K:BB ratio this year.