One can’t start a season much better than Royals right-hander Brad Keller.
But Keller’s second win of the season didn’t exactly come easy. Closer Trevor Rosenthal got out of a bases-loaded one-out jam by getting former Royal Christian Colón to roll into a double play, preserving a pulsating 5-4 win for the Royals at Cincinnati on Wednesday.
Rosenthal walked the bases loaded in the ninth — his first three walks of the season. But Rosenthal got Colón — who was responsible for Kansas City’s game-winning RBI in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series — to bounce a grounder to third baseman Maikel Franco, who started the twin killing.
Keller, making just his second start of 2020 after returning from the injured list, tossed six more shutout innings. He allowed two singles and three walks while striking out three.
Keller has thrown 11 consecutive scoreless innings to start the season.
And this time it wasn’t as routine as the linescore would indicate. Keller worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the first.
In the third, a leadoff walk from Keller was wiped out when Nick Castellanos hit into a double play.
And in the fifth, the Reds had two on and none out. But Keller secured a popout, then induced another double-play ball from Shogo Akiyama.
Keller left with a 5-0 lead.
That lead came mostly at the hands of Salvador Perez, who drove in a run in the first on a fielder’s choice, then homered in the third and doubled in a run in the sixth.
The Royals’ bullpen, so effective all season and the third best in the American League with a 3.00 ERA, finally had a hiccup Wednesday.
Given a 5-0 lead in the seventh, Ian Kennedy, who has been plagued by the home-run ball this season, allowed two more of them.
On his first pitch, Kennedy served up a homer to Jesse Winker. Kennedy walked the next batter then hung an 0-2 slider to Freddy Galvis. Kennedy has allowed six homers this season.
Scott Barlow relieved Kennedy, and the latter hadn’t given up a homer in 45 innings. But he did just that to Josh VanMeter, and suddenly, it was 5-4.