MILWAUKEE — Of all pitchers for the Royals to come to life against, it turned out to be sensational Brewers reliever Josh Hader.
Kansas City got two key run-scoring hits and a sacrifice fly against Hader in a five-run seventh inning and grabbed a 5-4 victory over Milwaukee on Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park. The Royals survived a three-run home run off Tim Hill by Brad Miller in the ninth before former Brewer Wily Peralta came in to register his second Major League save.
The game ended when Kansas City challenged a safe call at first base, and it was overturned. Royals review specialist Bill Duplissea is now a Major League-best 19-for-23 in challenges.
“For me, I thought he was safe,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He looked safe off the naked eye. We check it all, of course. When [bench coach] Dale [Sveum] said to challenge, I said, ‘Challenge? What’s Billy thinking?’ And Dale said, ‘We normally don’t challenge unless [we’re sure] he’s out.’ So I said, ‘Oooh, good.'”
Hill came into the game with a 5-1 lead to face a series of lefties. But a walk, a single and Miller’s home run made it a game again.
“It was set up perfectly for Timmy,” Yost said. “Unfortunately Timmy couldn’t get anyone out. After the home run by Miller, I just had to go get Wily.”
Peralta, who spent six seasons with the Brewers, was all smiles afterword.
“It’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my career, especially in that situation,” Peralta said. “Close game, one-run game, top of the lineup, and that’s something when you really have to make good pitches. It feels great to face them.
“I spent 12 years with the organization. I feel part of the family in a way. When you spend that much time with one organization, you know a lot of people there. I’m glad and feel happy to have seen them again.”
Mike Moustakas opened the seventh inning with his 15th home run of the season against starter Brent Suter, who left with the bases loaded and no outs in a 1-1 game. Jeremy Jeffress worked an out before ceding the mound to Hader.
With one out, Adalberto Mondesi greeted Hader with a first-pitch rocket off the wall in left field, just missing a grand slam by a few feet. But the two-run single gave the Royals the lead. Lucas Duda followed with a sacrifice fly, and Whit Merrifield added an RBI single off Hader, who came into the game with a 1.13 ERA. It was the first time this season Hader gave up two hits in an inning.
“I know he’s pretty good,” Mondesi said of Hader. “Lefty, throws hard. I need to be ready for that first pitch. He gave me a good pitch, I put a good swing on it and got a good result.”
The Royals had not scored more than four runs in a game since June 4. The five-run seventh was Kansas City’s biggest inning since it scored seven in an inning on May 30 against the Twins.
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy was sharp again, throwing six innings of one-run ball. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out seven.
Duffy’s lone mistake was a 2-0 slider left up to Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar, who smashed a home run to left, his 18th of the season.
Duffy appeared to tweak his left leg as he faced his final hitter, Manny Pina, who lined out to end the sixth. Afterward, Duffy said he simply had a cramp.
“I feel like I got my feet under me again and starting to pitch the way I know how,” Duffy said. “Everyone goes through ruts, and it won’t be the last time. But I feel like I have a good feel for what I’m doing right now.”