KANSAS CITY — The Royals came out on the winning end of a pitching duel on Tuesday night, scratching out their runs in the eighth inning for a 2-0 victory over the Brewers at Kauffman Stadium.
In the series opener of a brief, two-game Interleague set, Kansas City pitching dominated. Kris Bubic went toe-to-toe with Milwaukee righty Brandon Woodruff through six scoreless innings. The two needed 13 combined pitches to get through the first inning, and they resumed their duel after a 21-minute rain delay in the bottom of the second inning.
Bubic took what he showed in long relief earlier this month and translated it to his first start of the season, holding the Brewers to one hit with four strikeouts and two walks. Woodruff got through 7 2/3 innings, but the Royals were able to take advantage in the eighth with Whit Merrifield’s two-out walk, Carlos Santana’s hit-by-pitch and Andrew Benintendi’s RBI single.
Bubic’s two walks came in the sixth inning, when he started to see his pitches elevate a little as his count neared 80, a season high. But he got out of the inning with a double-play ball and a flyout to center field to end his outing at 85 pitches (56 strikes). Bubic’s signature changeup carved up Brewers hitters, including former National League MVP Christian Yelich, who returned from the injured list and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
In the fourth, Bubic threw a left-on-left changeup that Yelich could do nothing with except swing through for the second out of the inning.
Bubic did the same to Travis Shaw with two outs in the fifth, working back from a 3-0 count to get Shaw swinging through that changeup for the final out. The lefty was the boost the Royals’ rotation needed a day after they put their most reliable starter, Danny Duffy, on the 10-day injured list with a left forearm flexor strain.
And he pitched well enough to likely earn another start.
Lorenzo Cain returned to Kauffman Stadium for the second time since leaving the Royals for free agency. And the fans gave the 2014 American League Championship Series MVP a welcome ovation in his first at-bat of the night, as he tipped his helmet around the stadium and to the home dugout.