KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Nick Pratto homered and Brad Keller won for the first time in nearly a month as the Kansas City Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 9-1 on Wednesday night.
Keller (3-3), who leads the majors with 32 walks allowed, got into immediate trouble walking the first two batters he faced, but escaped first-inning damage with a double play and strikeout.
“We had a chance to put some runs on the board in the first inning and we didn’t,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “We had them on the ropes there and he was able to get out of it.”
Gavin Sheets walked to lead off the second and scored on Hanser Alberto’s single for Chicago’s lone run.
“The walks in the beginning, he easily could have fought himself hard,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “(He showed) some resolve. He really executed some pitches, especially with the off-speed stuff. The third inning he came out and threw some good fastballs in the zone. That kind of reset the match-up. It wasn’t just one pitch they had to worry about.”
Keller finished five innings, allowing one run on three hits and four walks, striking out four to earn his first win since April 12.
“I think that (third) was by far my best inning,” Keller said. “The offense putting up numbers like they did allowed me to just go out there and throw strikes. That inning gave me confidence to keep going.”
The Royals batted around in the first, collecting six hits, including Pratto’s two-out RBI single, grabbing a 4-0 lead while forcing Lance Lynn (1-5) to toss 37 pitches in the inning.
“Making pitchers work, making them earn their outs, that’s a big thing in this game,” Pratto said. “If you can make the other team work we’re going to get opportunities to do damage.”
Lynn surrendered seven runs on nine hits two walks, fanning four over five innings.
“A lot of mistakes in the middle of the plate,” Lynn said. “I couldn’t get the ball elevated when I needed to and when I tried to go down it was in the middle of the plate, too. They made me pay for it.”
Pratto’s homer, a two-run shot to right, gave Kansas City a 7-1 lead in the fifth.
Michael Massey opened the fourth with his first home run of the season and Edward Olivares opened the seventh with his third homer. Massey and Vinnie Pasquantino each produced three hits.
“The home runs, obviously, were big,” Quatraro said. “It was just nice that it was production up and down. Walks, tough at-bats that we fought through. Really positive night overall for the offense.”
Four Royals relievers fanned seven over four scoreless innings.
Chicago had six hits, all singles. Luis Robert Jr. struck out four times, snapping an eight-game hitting streak.
White Sox OF Billy Hamilton was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to May 7 with a left hamstring strain.
White Sox RHP Nick Padilla was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte, OF Jake Marisnick’s contract was selected from Charlotte, and RHP Alexander Colomé was designated for assignment.
RHP Mike Clevinger (2-3, 4.84 ERA) will oppose RHP Brady Singer (2-4, 8.82) in Thursday’s series finale.
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