Royals rookie Ventura shuts out Orioles over eight strong innings
Though concerned about the potential short-term loss of injured Orioles teammate Chris Davis, Adam Jones couldn’t help but marvel at the performance of Royals rookie Yordano Ventura.
Ventura scattered seven hits over eight innings and had a career-high eight strikeouts in leading the Royals to a 5-0 victory Friday night.
"That kid’s special, to say the least," said Jones, who went 0 for 3 against the right-hander. "He’s got a 95-100 (mph fastball), and his changeup I think is the pitch that keeps people off his fastball. His curveball was filthy. I don’t like to tip my cap, but the guy’s got some good stuff and he went out there and showed it tonight."
Davis left in the fifth inning with a left oblique strain. The severity of the injury was not immediately known, but Davis looked to be in obvious discomfort as he walked toward the dugout following a third-inning flyout.
"We’ll know more about it (Saturday)," Davis said. "I’ve never had an oblique strain or whatever you want to call it, but it doesn’t feel so bad right now that I can’t move or anything like that. So I think right now we’ll just take it one day at a time."
Davis led the majors with 53 home runs and 138 RBI last season. Although he has only two homers this year, Davis reached base in a career-high 20 straight games before going 0 for 2 in this one.
He hopes to get back quickly and start another streak.
"If we can get ahead of it right now and make it just a bump in the road as opposed to a big obstacle, I’ll be better off," said Davis, who could not recall a specific play or swing that caused the injury.
"Just discomfort the last few days," he said.
The Orioles won’t be the same if Davis must go to the 15-day disabled list.
"CD is a big, big part of our lineup and part of our plan," Jones said. "Whatever it is, you just want him to take his time and not rush it because it could be longer."
Ventura (2-1) walked two and hit a batter in his seventh major league start. The 22-year-old, who had never before gone longer than seven innings, stymied a club that totaled 21 runs in its previous two games.
"I think that’s as good as I’ve seen him," manager Ned Yost said. "He had everything going tonight. I mean good fastball, his curveball — that was probably the most consistent curveball he’s had all year — and a great changeup. He kept his pitch count down and really never got into much trouble. He just pitched a great game."
Baltimore got only one runner past second base against the hard-throwing Ventura, a non-drafted free agent from the Dominican Republic.
Royals pitcher Bruce Chen, serving as a translator for Ventura, said, "He felt like it went really well, but he wants to thank the team for supporting him, playing good defense and scoring a lot of runs. He thought we did a really good job of calling the game."
Greg Holland worked a perfect ninth to finish off the Royals’ second shutout of the season. Kansas City is 11-0 when scoring at least four runs and 0-11 when scoring three runs or less.
Ubaldo Jimenez (0-4) allowed four runs and six hits in six-plus innings. The right-hander has lost four of his five starts with the Orioles, who signed him to a $50 million, four-year contract in February.
After the start of the game was delayed 55 minutes by rain, the Royals wasted no time in taking a 2-0 lead. Jimenez walked Omar Infante and gave up a single to Eric Hosmer before yielding RBI singles to Billy Butler and Alex Gordon.
"In the first inning, I couldn’t find the strike zone," Jimenez said. "After that, I was able to throw the fastball and breaking ball for strikes."
Alcides Escobar reached third with no outs in the Kansas City second, but was stranded. The Orioles got two singles in both the second and fourth innings before Ventura worked out of trouble.
The Royals chased Jimenez during a two-run seventh. Escobar walked and Jarrod Dyson reached on a bunt before Nori Aoki delivered an RBI single past the drawn-in infield and Infante singled in a run on reliever T.J. McFarland’s first pitch.
Butler made it 5-0 in the ninth with a two-out RBI double.
NOTES: Orioles 3B Manny Machado (knee) began his rehabilitation assignment with Class A Frederick. Because of a wet field, he served as DH instead of playing the field. He had two doubles and a triple in four at-bats. … Former Oriole Jeremy Guthrie will take the mound for the Royals on Saturday night in the second game of the series. Wei-Yin Chen will pitch for Baltimore. … Hosmer singled and walked twice against Jimenez and is 9 for 23 (.391) lifetime against him. … Nick Markakis had two hits for Baltimore, his team-high ninth multihit game. … After the game, the Orioles optioned McFarland to Triple-A Norfolk.