Royals-Braves Preview

The magical start to the season continues for the Atlanta

Braves.

After a comeback victory to extend their winning streak, the

Braves will try to sweep four straight series for the first time in

13 years when they host the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday in the

finale of this two-game set.

The Braves (12-1) have been baseball’s best team thus far,

extending their winning streak to 10 games by beating the Royals

6-3 on Tuesday. Atlanta hit three home runs in the tiebreaking

eighth inning and now has its longest win streak since a 15-game

run from April 16-May 2, 2000.

That’s also the last time the team swept four straight series,

something it can accomplish by again beating the Royals (7-6). A

victory would also match the team’s best start since beginning 13-1

in 1994.

“It’s fun when you can do that,” said Braves outfielder Justin

Upton, who hit one of Atlanta’s five homers Tuesday and leads the

majors with eight. “But our goal is to go out and play good

baseball every night, pitch well, play good defense, put together

good at-bats and we’ve been able to do that so far.”

Along with Upton, Jason Heyward and Dan Uggla hit solo homers in

the eighth inning off reliever Kelvin Herrera, and Juan Francisco

also had two solo shots. Atlanta has a 25-7 edge in home runs and

has outscored the opposition 68-26, the majors’ best

differential.

“You know the power is there,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

“That doesn’t surprise you. It’s nice to have that type of arsenal

in your club because it’s a game-changer. One swing of the bat and

you can put some runs on the board, so that’s always nice.”

Mike Minor (2-0, 0.69 ERA) faces Kansas City for the first time

on Wednesday. The left-hander is off to a great start, having

allowed one run and one walk in 13 1-3 innings. He gave up no runs

and five hits in 5 2-3 to beat the Marlins 8-0 last Wednesday.

This contest wraps up this brief two-game homestand for the

Braves, who will then play 10 straight on the road. When that trip

ends, Atlanta will have played only twice at home in a span of 18

games.

These teams have little familiarity with each other. They’ve

played just two series – both in Atlanta – since

Interleague play was introduced. Counting Tuesday’s victory, the

Braves lead the series 5-2.

Wade Davis (1-0, 4.00) makes his third start as a member of the

Royals after showing some promising signs in his last outing.

Davis, who came over in a trade from Tampa Bay, earned his first

victory last Wednesday, giving up four hits and three walks in five

innings of a 3-0 win over Minnesota.

But Davis wound up needing 96 pitches to get through five – 52

in the first two – and would prefer to be a bit more efficient.

“I got into a little trouble early and didn’t make it too easy

on myself,” Davis said.

Davis faced Atlanta once while with the Rays, giving up three

runs over five innings in a loss at Turner Field in June 2010.