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Kansas City at Atlanta

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Kansas City (29-41)0230000005110
Atlanta (42-28) «40000103x892

Hinske comes through as Braves win fifth straight

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- Billy Wagner knows the Atlanta Braves can't take their slim division lead for granted. The 38-year-old closer likes how his team is playing, but the season isn't even halfway complete.

"You can't put enough ground between yourself and the other teams," Wagner said. "We've got to continue to battle and get the lead as far as we can get it because there's going to be a time where we hit a tough spell and there's going to be a time when they're hot."

Eric Hinske's two-run double broke an eighth-inning tie and Chipper Jones had three RBI to help the Braves win their fifth straight game, 8-5 over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

Melky Cabrera added an RBI single in the eighth off Blake Wood (0-1) for the Braves, who improved to 24-7 at home. Atlanta moved 2½ games ahead of the second-place New York Mets in the NL East. Two-time defending NL champion Philadelphia is in third place, 5½ games back.

Craig Kimbrel (2-0) earned the win by pitching a scoreless eighth, but it wasn't easy. The right-hander loaded the bases on two walks and his own fielding error before striking out two and escaping the jam on Billy Butler's popup.

"I kind of put myself in a tough situation there," Kimbrel said, "but we got back in there and were able to get three outs."

Wagner struck out two in a scoreless ninth for his 14th save in 16 chances. After earning his 399th career save, he pulled aside Kimbrel to give the rookie some advice.

"I'm trying to tell him you cannot create your own save, especially in a tie game," Wagner said with a laugh. "But he just ain't getting it yet. As long as you get out of that, the kid's on the right track. The kid's head and shoulders above where I was at that age."

Jones' RBI double off Kyle Farnsworth in the sixth scored Jason Heyward from second to tie it at 5. Atlanta took a 4-0 lead in the first on two-run doubles by Jones and Omar Infante.

The Royals rallied for a 5-4 lead with RBI singles in the second by Brayan Pena and Chris Getz, and with a three-run third that included Jose Guillen's RBI single, Mitch Maier's run-scoring infield single and Getz's RBI double.

Failing to score in the eighth, though, soon left Kansas City with a third straight loss.

"We had the bases loaded and nobody out in the eighth, but we couldn't get anything out of it," Butler said. "We just didn't come through today. Obviously, they are playing really well."

Kenshin Kawakami, the first starting pitcher in Braves history to begin a season by losing nine straight decisions, was chased by Guillen's hit in the third, the last of three consecutive singles to begin the inning.

Kawakami allowed six hits and five runs -- four earned -- with no walks and one strikeout. It was the shortest of his 39 starts in the major leagues. He also has committed three errors in his last two games.

Asked if he thinks a move to the bullpen would help him work through some of his trouble with mechanics, Kawakami wasn't sure.

"I haven't really thought about it much," he said through a translator. "But being a starter, I'm not really doing my job right now. I'm ready for whatever might be coming to me."

Cristhian Martinez, who allowed two inherited runners to score in the third, pitched the next three innings. Eric O'Flaherty worked the sixth and Peter Moylan the seventh for Atlanta.

Royals starter Kyle Davies walked a career-high seven in 4 1/3 innings. The right-hander gave up four hits and four runs while striking out six. In his last five starts, Davies is 1-2 with a 9.78 ERA.

Pitching in his hometown and making his first appearance against the team that traded him to Kansas City in 2007, Davies insisted nerves didn't derail him.

"When I picked up the tempo a little bit, the game got a little better," he said. "But in the fifth, I lost command again. I wasn't amped up. I just struggled with my command."

Notes
  • Braves RHP Takashi Saito could come off the 15-day disabled list before Tuesday's road game against the Chicago White Sox. Saito struck out one in one inning of a rehab appearance Sunday at Triple-A Gwinnett.
  • Royals manager Ned Yost said RHP Gil Meche has "moved out of recovery phase" with a bullpen session. Meche, on the DL with shoulder bursitis, is 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA in nine starts. Kansas City hopes he can return next month.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Eric Hinske's eighth-inning double breaks a tie and helps pad Atlanta's lead in the NL East. (AP)
Eric Hinske's eighth-inning double breaks a tie and helps pad Atlanta's lead in the NL East. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

C. Jones
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
Kansas City

J. Guillen
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus, LF5010025 .328
Mike Aviles, SS5110015 .312
Billy Butler, 1B5110014 .331
Jose Guillen, RF5221021 .269
Alberto Callaspo, 3B5120002 .274
Mitch Maier, CF5011014 .263
Brayan Pena, C4011102 .174
Chris Getz, 2B4022010 .207
Kyle Davies, P1000002 .000
    Victor Marte, P0000000 .000
   a- Wilson Betemit, PH0000100 .467
    Kyle Farnsworth, P0000000 .000
   b- Scott Podsednik, PH0000100 .282
    Blake Wood, P0000000 .000
Totals39511538  
a-walked for Marte in the 6th
b-walked for Farnsworth in the 8th
Batting
2B - David DeJesus (22, Cr. Martinez), Chris Getz (2, Cr. Martinez)
SH - Kyle Davies (1)
RBI - Jose Guillen (43), Mitch Maier (25), Brayan Pena (3), Chris Getz 2 (10)
2-OUT RBI - Chris Getz (4)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Aviles-Butler
Kansas City Royals
Kyle Davies 4.1444760 6.15
Victor Marte 0.2000100 3.12
Kyle Farnsworth (BS,1) 2211130 2.51
Blake Wood (L,0-1) 1333200 4.19
WP - Kyle Davies (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Davies 103-53, Victor Marte 12-6, Kyle Farnsworth 32-19, Blake Wood 17-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Davies 1-6, Victor Marte 1-1, Kyle Farnsworth 2-1, Blake Wood 1-1
Batters Faced - Kyle Davies 24, Victor Marte 3, Kyle Farnsworth 9, Blake Wood 7
Atlanta Braves
Martin Prado, 2B-1B4110110 .339
Jason Heyward, RF3210211 .264
Chipper Jones, 3B3223200 .250
Troy Glaus, 1B1200402 .280
    Yunel Escobar, SS0000000 .247
Eric Hinske, LF5022025 .311
    Brandon Hicks, PR-2B0100000 .000
Melky Cabrera, CF4011105 .260
Omar Infante, SS-LF5022012 .315
David Ross, C3000123 .279
Kenshin Kawakami, P1000010 .095
    Cristhian Martinez, P1000012 .000
   a- Brooks Conrad, PH1000003 .250
    Eric O'Flaherty, P0000000 .000
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
   b- Gregor Blanco, PH1000000 .438
    Craig Kimbrel, P0000000 .000
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .000
Totals32898119  
a-flied out for Cr. Martinez in the 5th
b-flied out for Moylan in the 7th
Batting
2B - Jason Heyward (13, Farnsworth), Chipper Jones 2 (13, Davies, Farnsworth), Eric Hinske (15, Wood), Omar Infante (8, Davies)
RBI - Chipper Jones 3 (29), Eric Hinske 2 (27), Melky Cabrera (19), Omar Infante 2 (18)
2-OUT RBI - Eric Hinske 2 (11), Melky Cabrera (9), Omar Infante 2 (8)
SB - Martin Prado (2, 2nd base off Davies/B. Pena), Jason Heyward (5, 2nd base off Davies/B. Pena), Chipper Jones (4, 3rd base off Farnsworth/B. Pena)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
PB - David Ross (1)
E - Kenshin Kawakami (3, Misplayed grounder), Craig Kimbrel (1, Misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
Kenshin Kawakami 2654010 4.78
Cristhian Martinez 3300020 2.35
Eric O'Flaherty 1000110 2.28
Peter Moylan 1100000 3.14
Craig Kimbrel (W,2-0) 1000220 1.08
Billy Wagner (S,14) 1100020 1.23
Pitches-Strikes - Kenshin Kawakami 36-25, Cristhian Martinez 45-31, Eric O'Flaherty 16-9, Peter Moylan 17-10, Craig Kimbrel 27-14, Billy Wagner 17-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kenshin Kawakami 3-3, Cristhian Martinez 6-1, Eric O'Flaherty 2-0, Peter Moylan 3-0, Craig Kimbrel 1-1, Billy Wagner 1-0
Batters Faced - Kenshin Kawakami 13, Cristhian Martinez 12, Eric O'Flaherty 4, Peter Moylan 4, Craig Kimbrel 6, Billy Wagner 4
Game Information
Attendance - 30072
Game Time - 3:13
Temperature - 91
Umpires - Home - Dale Scott, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - Mark Wegner, Third Base - Dan Iassogna