Smith rewards Royals for their faith
After the Royals acquired right-hander Jeremy Guthrie in a trade Friday, they opted to keep rookie left-hander Will Smith in the rotation.
Although Smith had a 7.97 ERA and 1-3 record, having allowed 26 hits and seven home runs through four starts, the Royals wanted to give him a prolonged look as a starter.
That certainly looked like a wise decision Tuesday night, as Smith beat the Angels 4-1. He allowed two hits -- none after the first inning -- and one run in seven innings. He walked four and struck out four.
"This is a tough lineup to navigate through, and he really got locked in during the fourth inning," manager Ned Yost said. "He had thrown more balls than strikes to that point, and his command was off a little bit, but he was wild enough that he was tough to hit. Then he just settled in and really started commanding the ball."
Smith was impressive in his final four starts with Class AAA Omaha, going 3-0 and permitting only four runs in 27 2/3 innings (1.30 ERA). He struck out 29 and walked four in that span, earning a second stint with the Royals. It looks as if he will be around for a while.
With his stellar start against the Angels, he lowered his major league ERA to 6.26.
The Royals acquired Smith and right-hander Sean O'Sullivan, who is no longer in the organization, from the Angels for infielder Alberto Callaspo in a July 2010 trade.
C Jason Kendall, who attempted to come back after having two serious shoulder operations, announced his retirement Tuesday after only two games with Class AA Northwest Arkansas. He had felt a twinge in his surgically repaired right shoulder. The 38-year-old veteran, who last played the majors Aug. 30, 2010, goes out with a career .288 batting average in 2,085 games. His total of 2,025 games as a catcher ranks fifth all-time.
CF Lorenzo Cain hit a two-run home run in the first inning. Since coming off the disabled list on July 13, Cain is hitting .390 (16-for-41).
LF Alex Gordon went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run and an RBI. He leads the American League with 33 doubles. Gordon has hit safely in 13 of his past 14 games, going 27-for-61 (.443) in that span.
RHP Jonathan Broxton protected the Royals' 4-1 advantage Tuesday night to log his 23rd save in 27 opportunities. Broxton did add some ninth-inning intrigue by giving up two singles. Several clubs have shown interest in Broxton, who is on the trading block.
RF Jeff Francoeur went 0-for-4 Monday as his month-long skid continued. He is hitting .167 in his past 29 games.
Royals pitchers lead the American League by issuing 349 walks; only the Padres have walked more. In losses Sunday and Monday, four batters walked by Kansas City pitchers scored. "The walks are kind of hurting us right now in crucial situations," manager Ned Yost said. "We've got to find ways to eliminate that."
16-9 The Royals' record when their starting pitcher works six or more innings. Kansas City added a win to that tally when LHP Will Smith fired seven effective innings Tuesday at Anaheim.
"At first, I didn't know how to take it because I was so young. But people kept telling me it was a good thing for me. I'm very happy in Kansas City. We've got a great young core here, so I'm excited." LHP Will Smith, 23, on his 2010 trade from the Angels to the Royals.