The Associated Press
Wade Davis pitched five-hit ball for seven innings, Jeff Francoeur had a fourth-inning RBI single and the Kansas City Royals stopped Atlanta’s 10-game winning streak with a 1-0 victory Wednesday.
The Braves were seeking their first 13-1 start since 1994, but the powerful Atlanta offense — which homered five times off the Royals on Tuesday — finally was stifled.
Davis (2-0) didn’t walk anyone and struck out seven, and the Braves couldn’t get a runner past first base until Jason Heyward’s two-out double in the sixth. Their only serious scoring chance came in the seventh, when Juan Francisco was thrown out trying to score from first on a pop down the right-field line.
Greg Holland worked a scoreless ninth for his third save in four chances.
Mike Minor (2-1) had another strong outing for the Braves, allowing just five hits and the lone run in six innings. The left-hander’s ERA over three starts is 0.95.
Neither team had gotten a runner as far as second base until the fourth, when the Royals caught a couple of breaks before Francoeur’s two-out hit.
Alcides Escobar led off with a single to right, breaking an 0-for-15 slump, but it appeared he wouldn’t be on base for long when he got stranded between first and second after a pitch. Catcher Evan Gattis tried to run at Escobar but held the ball for too long, allowing the runner to slide back into first just ahead of the throw.
Gattis pumped his fists and screamed at himself under his mask for letting Escobar off the hook.
That turned out to be a crucial play. With two outs, Lorenzo Cain hit a little dribbler down the third-base line for an infield hit, then Francoeur came through on an 0-2 pitch, singling to left field when Minor left a ball in the strike zone against a free-swinging batter who is prone to chase bad pitches.
In the seventh, Atlanta put together its best scoring chance against Davis. Francisco, who homered twice against the Royals on Tuesday, singled to right with two outs for his second hit of the game. Then, Chris Johnson lofted a popup that down the right-field line that landed about a foot fair, just out of the grasp of diving second baseman Chris Getz.
But Getz hustled to his feet, tracked down the ball alongside the rolled-up tarp, and alertly spotted that Francisco was trying to score all the way from first. The throw to the plate was easily in time to get the lumbering runner.
Escobar had an error in the first, throwing high after fielding a grounder by leadoff hitter B.J. Upton, but the Royals shortstop came up with a couple of nifty defensive plays — one a barehanded grab on a grounder in the hole, another a diving stop on a wickedly hit ball by Chris Johnson to set up a double play.
NOTES: Royals manager Ned Yost and Francoeur will remain in Atlanta, where both have ties, and travel separately to join the team in Boston. Kansas City is off Thursday before beginning a weekend series against the Red Sox. It will be Sox’s first home game since the three people were killed and hundreds injured in the Boston Marathon bombing. ... The Braves got an encouraging report on LHP Luis Avilan, who collapsed on the mound while pitching in the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Royals. The apparent injury to his left hamstring turned out to be a serious cramp. Avilan said “it’s way better now” and he’s hoping to avoid the DL. The left-hander believes he can pitch again after a couple of days. The Braves already have two relievers on the DL: Jonny Venters and Cristhian Martinez. ... Julio Teheran (0-0) will pitch for the Braves in the opener of a four-game series in Pittsburgh on Thursday. Jeff Locke (1-1) will go for the Pirates.