Atlanta at Kansas City

Kansas City
W: K. Medlen (5-7) L: T. Collins (2-2) S: C. Kimbrel (22)
HR: ATL - J. Heyward (6)   KC - E. Hosmer (4)

Braves 4, Royals 3 wire reports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kris Medlen is perfectly happy throwing crisp, pinpoint 89-mph fastballs, especially if the alternative is to throw 100-mph heat while living on the edge.

That would be the life of Braves closer Craig Kimbrel.

Both of them did their duty on Tuesday night in Atlanta's first visit to Kansas City. Medlen outpitched the Royals' Ervin Santana to position himself for the win, and Kimbrel survived a shaky ninth to preserve a 4-3 victory in the opener of their two-game series.

"You know how stressful it is trying to locate 89 every pitch?" Medlen deadpanned. "It's not very fun, but it's a tough skill to do. It's why I'm hanging around."

Why he's excelling, too. Medlen (5-7) improved to 4-1 in June. The victory wasn't without drama once he left the game, though.

Jordan Walden had to pitch around a leadoff walk to get out of the eighth inning, and Kimbrel got into the same trouble in the ninth. But he did one worse, allowing a single to David Lough and letting him swipe second base to put the go-ahead run in scoring position with nobody out.

Kimbrel recovered to strike out Elliot Johnson and Jarrod Dyson, and then intentionally walked Alex Gordon to load the bases for Alcides Escobar. He flied out to right on the first pitch he saw to end the game, giving Kimbrel his 11th straight save and 22nd of the season.

"Whenever you walk the leadoff batter in a one-run ballgame," he said, "it puts you in a sticky situation, but we were able to work out of it."

Jason Heyward drove in a pair of runs with a double in the fifth, and then broke a seventh-inning tie with his solo shot off Tim Collins (2-2). It was his sixth homer of the season.

Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer in the fifth for the Royals.

"We had a lot of opportunities," Johnson said. "We didn't make the most of them."

In a curious twist to interleague play, the Royals had played 142 games against NL teams at Kauffman Stadium without a visit by Atlanta. If not for last year's All-Star Game at the K, longtime Braves third baseman Chipper Jones would have retired having never played in the park.

Their debut wound up being dominated by pitching.

The Royals scratched out their first run off Medlen in the first when Alex Gordon reached on a single, took second on an error and went to third on a sacrifice bunt. But he was caught in a rundown on a grounder by Hosmer, who reached second before Gordon was tagged out.

Hosmer scored on Billy Butler's ensuing single.

That was all the Royals would muster off Medlen until Escobar managed a two-out single in the fifth. The resurgent Hosmer followed with his tying two-run shot over the right-field wall, his fourth home run of the season but third in 10 games.

It proved to be timely, too, coming just after the Braves pulled ahead.

Ervin Santana had struck out five through the first three innings, but began running into trouble the second time through the Braves' power-packed lineup. But it wasn't home runs that gave them the lead, but a series of singles and doubles.

Chris Johnson led off the fifth with a double, and Andrelton Simmons put runners on the corners with his base hit. Jordan Schafer tied the game 1-all on his double, and Heyward's double down the right-field line gave the Braves a 3-1 lead.

"I felt very good the whole game," Santana said. "I just missed a couple of pitches, and they made good adjustments on them."

Heyward didn't hit his double particularly hard. The homer off Collins was crushed.

Heyward greeted a 0-2 pitch from the Royals' diminutive left-hander with a ferocious swing, sending the ball soaring over the wall in right field and giving the Braves a 4-3 lead.

"I was just looking for a pitch in the zone to hit," he said. "Looking for a pitch in the zone to hit right there and try not to miss it. Put a good swing on it."

A good enough swing to give Kimbrel a chance to create some ninth-inning drama.

"It's not the way you draw it up," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of the living-on-the-edge save, "but we'll take it."


The Braves began the day with 96 homers, tied with Colorado for first in the National League. They're now 41-9 when they hit a homer and 4-23 when they do not. ... Braves OF Justin Upton was the DH after missing two games with a sore right hand. ... The Royals recalled LHP Will Smith and optioned RHP Kelvin Herrera to Triple-A Omaha. ... LHP Mike Minor pitches for the Braves on Wednesday night. RHP Luis Mendoza goes for the Royals on Wednesday night.

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Players of the Game

J. Heyward
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
Kansas City

E. Hosmer
AB 4
R 2
H 1
HR 1

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Atlanta Braves
Jordan Schafer, LF5121010 .317
Jason Heyward, RF4123011 .216
Justin Upton, DH4010102 .241
Freddie Freeman, 1B3010112 .304
Brian McCann, C3000113 .240
B.J. Upton, CF4010013 .177
Dan Uggla, 2B4010022 .196
Chris Johnson, 3B4110001 .319
Andrelton Simmons, SS4110011 .247
2B - Jordan Schafer (6, Santana), Jason Heyward (9, Santana), Justin Upton (10, Santana), Chris Johnson (16, Santana)
HR - Jason Heyward (6, Collins)
RBI - Jordan Schafer (14), Jason Heyward 3 (16)
SB - Jordan Schafer (9, 2nd base off Santana/Perez)
CS - Andrelton Simmons (4, 2nd base by Santana/Perez)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Freeman-Simmons
E - Kris Medlen (2, Throwing), Jordan Walden (1, Throwing)
Atlanta Braves
Kris Medlen (W,5-7) 7733151 3.02
Jordan Walden (H,5) 1000110 2.59
Craig Kimbrel (S,22) 1100220 1.53
IBB - Gordon by Craig Kimbrel
Pitches-Strikes - Kris Medlen 93-63, Jordan Walden 17-10, Craig Kimbrel 23-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kris Medlen 12-3
Batters Faced - Kris Medlen 28, Jordan Walden 4, Craig Kimbrel 6
Kansas City Royals
Alex Gordon, LF4010111 .288
Alcides Escobar, SS3110114 .251
Eric Hosmer, 1B4212002 .275
Billy Butler, DH4011011 .268
Salvador Perez, C4010002 .292
Mike Moustakas, 3B3010101 .208
David Lough, RF3010101 .300
Elliot Johnson, 2B4000034 .231
Jarrod Dyson, CF4010022 .292
2B - Mike Moustakas (10, Medlen)
HR - Eric Hosmer (4, Medlen)
SH - Alcides Escobar (6)
RBI - Eric Hosmer 2 (29), Billy Butler (40)
2-OUT RBI - Eric Hosmer 2 (13), Billy Butler (18)
SB - Alcides Escobar (11, 3rd base off Walden/McCann), David Lough (1, 2nd base off Kimbrel/McCann), Jarrod Dyson (9, 2nd base off Medlen/McCann)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Escobar-Johnson-Hosmer, Escobar-Johnson-Hosmer-Johnson-Escobar-Hosmer
Kansas City Royals
Ervin Santana 6633370 2.74
Tim Collins (L,2-2) 1211011 2.57
J.C. Gutierrez 1200000 3.04
Will Smith 1000000 7.20
IBB - McCann by Ervin Santana
WP - Ervin Santana (4)
HBP - Heyward (by Will Smith)
Pitches-Strikes - Ervin Santana 102-62, Tim Collins 20-16, J.C. Gutierrez 17-12, Will Smith 5-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ervin Santana 8-3, J.C. Gutierrez 1-1, Will Smith 1-1
Batters Faced - Ervin Santana 27, Tim Collins 5, J.C. Gutierrez 4, Will Smith 3
Game Information
Attendance - 29947
Game Time - 2:59
Temperature - 87
Umpires - Home - Bob Davidson, First Base - Jim Reynolds, Second Base - John Hirschbeck, Third Base - James Hoye