Royals-Braves Preview

BY foxsports • April 17, 2013

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.

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