So few strikeouts “means trusting the guys behind him. This is a big deal for our pitchers and I think it sends a message to the rest of our staff,” Matheny said.
Salvador Pérez and Hunter Dozier homered to help Kansas City win its second consecutive series after losing its previous eight. Pittsburgh lost its fourth game in a row.
“They’re playing well right now,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “They’re coming off a sweep of Cleveland, one of the best teams in baseball and they’re doing a nice job. They’re creating a lot of opportunities for themselves, their bullpen is pitching well.”
The Royals thrived off Chad Kuhl (1-2) who couldn’t find the strike zone. He walked six, helping set up nine runs in 2 1/3 innings. Only 31 of his 70 pitches were strikes.
After giving up a single in the third, he walked three of the next four batters and was yanked. Nick Tropeano relieved him and proceeded to walk Nicky Lopez, then give up a two-run single to Whit Merrifield that made it 9-0.
Seven Royals starters had an RBI with Merrifield and Salvador Pérez both having a pair.