KANSAS CITY — The National League’s best offense was no match for Heath Fillmyer on Wednesday night.
In just his fifth career start, Fillmyer powered the Royals to a 9-0 victory over the Cubs at Kauffman Stadium with seven scoreless innings in which he allowed just three hits.
Fillmyer was unhittable to begin the game, except in the most literal sense — Anthony Rizzo’s leadoff single off Fillmyer’s ankle was the only hit he allowed until the seventh inning. At one point, he retired 12 straight Chicago batters.
The biggest test for the rookie came in the seventh, when David Bote and Tommy La Stella singled to set up runners on first and second with one out. After Fillmyer struck out Willson Contreras, manager Ned Yost came out to chat with him.
Tim Hill was ready in the ‘pen, but Yost stuck with Fillmyer for Kyle Schwarber. That proved to be a good decision, as Fillmyer quickly got him to pop up to Adalberto Mondesi to stifle the rally.
The Royals offense got Fillmyer some early support in the second when Hunter Dozier led off the inning with a single and Jorge Bonifacio and Brett Phillips each worked one-out walks. With the bases loaded, Drew Butera laid off two pitches before poking a double past third baseman Bote to open a 2-0 lead.
Mondesi added some insurance for Fillmyer shortly after he was pulled, sending a 74 mph curveball from Jose Quintana into the fountains for a three-run homer. Statcast™ projected his blast as traveling 437 feet at a blistering exit velocity of 106.4 mph.