Preview: Brewers at Royals
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Milwaukee Brewers, streaking in one direction, and the Kansas City Royals, going another, will meet Wednesday to conclude a two-game mini interleague series at Kauffman Stadium.
The Brewers beat the Royals 5-2 on Tuesday night for their seventh straight victory. The last time Milwaukee has won eight in a row was June 28 through July 5, 2015.
On the flip side, the Royals have lost 16 of their first 21 games to begin the season. They are a pitiful 1-8 at home and the Tuesday defeat was the opener of a seven-game homestand. Their lone home victory was a 10-0 tally on April 9 against the Seattle Mariners.
Even the Royals welcoming back All-Star catcher Salvador Perez and five-time Gold Glove outfielder Alex Gordon could not help the club land a victory. Perez had been on the disabled list for the first 20 games, tearing a ligament in his knee while toting luggage upstairs at his home the day before the season opener. Gordon sat out 13 games with a left hip labral tear. Perez hit a solo home run and Gordon doubled and singled in their return, accounting for three of the Royals' six hits.
"We score two runs and they each score one, so it's nice to get their bats back in the lineup," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Milwaukee leadoff hitter Lorenzo Cain, who developed into a Royals star and favorite the past seven years, was given a standing ovation before his first at-bat. He tipped his cap to the appreciative crowd, while Cain and close friend Perez hugged just outside the batter's box. Cain signed a five-year, $80 million contract with the Brewers in January. Cain homered in the seventh, one of two Milwaukee home runs.
Royals starting pitcher Ian Kennedy suffered a right foot contusion after being struck by liner off the bat of Ryan Braun in the third. X-rays were negative. Kennedy remained in the game, only to give up a three-run homer to Travis Shaw, the next batter.
It is unknown whether Kennedy will miss a start.
"We're going to wear a boot to take pressure off of it the next 12 hours, just wait and see how it feels," he said. "This is right off my push off leg. I said let me go downstairs and have them look at it. Soon as I took a step to go upstairs, I felt it, and said warm somebody up. It's a tiny little bone, but it means a lot."
Brewers right-hander Jhoulys Chacin will start the finale of this series. Chacin is 1-1 with a 4.18 ERA in five starts. He has allowed 28 hits and walked 13 in 23 2/3 innings, while striking out 16. Opponents are hitting .289 off him.
Royals first baseman Lucas Duda has had success against Chacin, going 4-for-7, .571, with two home runs and six RBI. Jon Jay has faced Chacin the most, going 3-for-11 with a home run.
Chacin picked up his first victory of the season in his previous start, tossing six scoreless innings against the Miami Marlins and permitting four hits while striking out five. The Brewers are 3-2 when he starts.
Chacin is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two career starts against Kansas City. He last pitched at Kauffman Stadium on May 14, 2014 while with the Rockies, taking a loss when he allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out one. While with the San Diego Padres last year, Chacin topped the Royals 6-3 at Petco Park, surrendering two runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out six in seven innings.
The Royals will counter with veteran right-hander Jason Hammel, who is 0-1 with a 3.20 ERA in four starts. Hammel went nine innings in a no-decision in his previous start, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks, with four strikeouts, on Friday in Detroit.
Hammel is 10-2 with a 3.13 ERA all-time against the Brewers. He is 4-6 with a 4.86 ERA at Kauffman Stadium as a Royal.