CINCINNATI — Royals rookie right-hander Heath Fillmyer’s final start of 2018 had it all: He was dominant in 7 1/3 innings, he struck out a career-high nine batters, and he even got his first career hit and RBI.
Fillmyer’s start bodes well for Spring Training, when he will get a long look as a rotation candidate. Fillmyer gave up just four hits and one run in the Royals’ 6-1 victory over the Reds at Great American Ball Park on Wednesday night.
The Royals won both games of the two-game set and notched their 56th victory, which means that they will not set a franchise record for losses in 2018. The worst they can do is tie the 2005 team, which finished 56-106.
Fillmyer spotted his fastball and mixed in a sharp curveball and an effective changeup to keep the Reds off-balance all night. He walked two hitters.
“He threw the ball well, changed speeds well,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He has really done a nice job of executing his game plan. He doesn’t make a whole lot of mistakes. He’s doing everything you want a young pitcher to do.”
Added Fillmyer: “Curveball was working really well today to lefties. Got good results with that and the changeup. I was happy about that.”
And with two outs in the sixth inning, Fillmyer had a little fun at the plate, smashing an RBI double into the right-center-field gap — Statcast™ measured his exit velocity at 102 mph.
“If I missed that one, I don’t think I would have ever gotten a hit,” Fillmyer said. “It was right down the middle. It was nice to get the monkey off the back.
“I think if I tried every day and I was a National League pitcher, I could put up some good at-bats. … In college, I was a good hitter, but that was four years ago. I’m definitely a 5 o’clock hitter.”
Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi’s speed impacted the game almost immediately. With one out in the first, Mondesi singled sharply to left, then stole second and third base, and he scored on Salvador Perez’s double to center. Mondesi now has 28 stolen bases in 71 games.
Alex Gordon homered in the seventh inning, his 13th of the year.