KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Hunter Cervenka is no longer flawless.
The Atlanta rookie left-hander was charged with three eighth-inning runs - the first he has allowed in the majors - in the Braves’ 5-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.
Cervenka had retired his last 30 hitters after yielding a hit to the first major league batter he had faced and not allowed a run in his first 15 big league appearances, which was a franchise record. He retired only one of the four batters he faced Friday night. The Braves trailed 2-1 when he entered, but he gave up a leadoff single to Lorenzo Cain, walked Eric Hosmer and gave up an RBI single to Kendrys Morales.
“If there’s anybody out there who thought he was going to go the rest of the year without giving up a run or giving up a base hit, they’re crazy,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Now we know that he’s human.”
Salvador Perez’s two-run single off Alexi Ogando was the key hit of the inning.
Cervenka, who the Braves signed out of an independent league team in Sugar Land, Texas, last July, was well aware of his scoreless streak.
“You see it everywhere,” he said. “You try to log on to social media and keep up with friends. You can’t help but see it because it’s there. And yeah, it might have caused a little bit of added pressure, pitching later in the game tonight and facing hitters like Hosmer and Cain. It may have added a little pressure, but at the end of the day, I didn’t get the job done.”
Braves right-hander Julio Teheran (0-4) is winless in eight starts this season, the longest winless streak of his career, despite a 1.48 ERA in his past five starts. Teheran held the Royals to two runs, one unearned, and four hits over seven innings.
“How much better can you ask for than his performance?” Gonzalez said. “He got himself in a little jam and he got himself out of it with some big-time punch-outs at some big times in the sixth inning. He did great. He gave us every opportunity to win the ballgame. Shoot, seven innings of two-run baseball, just one earned run, that’s a helluva outing.”
Edinson Volquez pitched seven solid innings, Alcides Escobar had two hits, scored a run and drove in a run in the Royals’ victory to open a six-game homestand.
The World Series champion Royals had dropped 12 of their previous 16 games, while the Braves, who have the worst record in the National League, lost for the 17th time in 25 games.
Volquez (4-3) picked up his first victory since April 21, snapping a three-game winless streak. Erick Aybar’s sacrifice fly in the seventh scored Jeff Francoeur, who led off the inning with a single, for the only run Volquez allowed.
Volquez, who threw 55 strikes in 83 pitches, allowed one run on six hits, walked none and struck out two.
“He really managed his pitch count,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
In his previous start, he threw 105 pitches in 4 1-3 innings in a loss to the Indians, allowing five runs on seven hits and four walks.
“Last time at Cleveland, I was all over the place,” Volquez said. “I wanted to make sure I throw the ball for strikes. I had good movement on my fastball. I used my fastball a lot and they made contact. It was easy for me to get a lot of groundballs.”
Escobar led off the Royals’ first with a single to right and advanced to third on Francoeur’s two-base fielding error. Escobar scored on Cain’s groundout to Aybar.
Escobar’s two-out single in the second inning scored Cheslor Cuthbert, who has hit in all seven games he has played since being called up from Triple-A Omaha.
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Aybar, who drove in the lone Braves’ run, is hitting .381 in 35 career games at Kansas City.
Royals: 3B Mike Moustakas (fractured left thumb) played catch for the first time since going on the disabled list May 5.
Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz, who struck out eight and walked none in seven innings in a no-decision against Arizona on Sunday, will make his third start since being recalled May 3.
Royals: RHP Dillon Gee will make his first start since last June 14 while with the Mets. Yost said Gee, who threw 5 1/3 innings in relief Monday against the Yankees, will be on a 90-95 pitch count.
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