Once the calendar turns to September, Kyle Davies turns into an ace.
The right-hander carried a no-hit bid into the sixth inning and won his fourth straight start, pitching the Kansas City Royals to a 7-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.
Davies (8-9) held the Indians hitless until Shin-Soo Choo‘s leadoff single to center in the sixth. He walked six and struck out three over six innings in his second straight wild start. He walked six and gave up five hits and one run over five innings in a 6-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.
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“He had a very good changeup,” Choo said. “And he threw enough strikes to get big outs. I hit a curve, but he was pretty good.”
Davies is 3-0 in September. A year ago, he went 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA after Sept. 1. But he struggled early this season and was sent back to the minors after going 1-6 in seven starts between May 16 and June 19 that dropped his record to 3-7.
“I know I can win in September,” he said. “Right now, it’s like I am going to do it – not, are you going to?”
Davies said he worked the kinks out of his delivery while going 4-2 with a 2.14 ERA in eight starts at Triple-A Omaha before being recalled Aug. 5.
“It’s really about mechanics for me,” Davies said. “I don’t have a lot of movement on my pitches, so I’ve got to stay in rhythm and keep the ball down. I’ve been a little lucky, too. I can’t keep walking guys.”
Davies improved to 4-3 with a 2.66 ERA on the road. He is 4-6 with an 8.92 ERA in 11 home starts.
The 26-year-old thought it could be a special day after first baseman Billy Butler made two fine plays on sharp grounders by Cleveland’s first two batters.
“That second one hit the bag and went straight left, but he got it with his bare hand,” Davies said. “I don’t know how. He made another good play the next inning, then caught a popup in the sun. I had no idea where it was. Four good plays in two innings helps.”
Matt LaPorta lined a two-out single off reliever Carlos Rosa in the ninth for Cleveland’s only other hit.
Three of the Royals‘ eight shutouts this season have been at Progressive Field. The last time the Indians were blanked three times at home by the same team in a season was by the 1971 Baltimore Orioles.
John Buck and Butler each had two RBIs in the Royals‘ sixth win in seven games. Kansas City took two of three from the Indians, losers of 10 of 13, for only its second road series win since May.
“We had our hitting shoes on again and gave Kyle some breathing room,” Royals bench coach John Gibbons said. “Take away the walks and he’s on quite a roll.”
Gibbons spoke in place of manager Trey Hillman, who left immediately after the game to attend to a personal matter.
Buck put the Royals ahead 1-0 in the third with his sixth homer, an opposite-field shot to right off Carlos Carrasco (0-2).
Two errors helped make it 3-0 in the fourth. Willie Bloomquist hit a leadoff double. Carrasco, who had picked Bloomquist off first base following a first-inning single, this time threw the ball into center field on a pickoff try, sending the runner to third. Bloomquist scored on a groundout by Butler.
Mike Jacobs then grounded to second baseman Luis Valbuena, but was safe when first baseman Andy Marte mishandled the throw. Jacobs moved up on a groundout and scored from second on a single to center by Mitch Maier.
Carrasco allowed four earned runs and eight hits over six innings in his third career start. The right-hander, one of four players acquired from Philadelphia on July 29 in the trade that sent 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee to the Phillies, walked one and struck out three.
The Royals are 4-13 in the decisive game of a three-game series. … Carrasco has three pickoffs in two games. He said he had only one in six years in the minors. … According to the Elias Sports Bureau, 22-year-old Indians OF Michael Brantley is the second-youngest Cleveland player to get four hits in a game (Saturday). Carlos Baerga was 21 when he did it against the Yankees on Sept. 20, 1990. … Butler has batted .436 with 13 RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak. … Indians RHP Joe Smith did not go with the team to Minnesota. He has a sore right knee. … DeJesus extended his hitting streak to 14 games. … Maier got credit for a single when his grounder hit runner Alberto Callaspo in the leg in the sixth for an out.