Thursday, April 26, 2012

Royals Snap 12-Game Losing Streak as Billy Butler, Alex Gordon Star; Jonny Venters, Craig Kimbrel Hurl Braves Past Dodgers

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 25, 2012

American League

Kansas City is still in last place in the AL Central, but at least they've stopped losing, for now.

Billy Butler
The Royals - which started the season 3-2 - snapped a 12-game losing streak with a convincing 8-2 win over Cleveland, avoiding being swept for a fourth straight series.

Kansas City's losing streak took no particular form. When they scored a lot of runs, the pitching didn't hold up, and when the pitching was solid, the hitters had an off day.
Alex Gordon

On Wednesday, the Royals put together timely hitting - getting eight runs from 11 hits - as Billy Butler led the charge with a pair of homers, his third and fourth of the season, socking a two run shot in the first inning to start the scoring and smacking a solo blast in the ninth to complete it.

Alex Gordon also played a key role, going 3-for-5 with a couple of singles and a three-run, ninth-inning home run that put the game on ice. Gordon had three RBI and scored twice.

The Royals finish their series in Cleveland on Thursday before heading to Minnesota for a three game weekend set.

National League

Atlanta scored three runs in the top of the ninth to upend the LA Dodgers for the second straight time, winning by a 4-2 score and taking the final two games of their three-game series.

Criag Kimbrel
Jonny Venters
The Braves didn't have much luck against Ted Lilly, the Dodger starter who went seven innings, allowing just three hits and one earned run, but the Atlanta bullpen did their job. Jonny Venters (2-0) got the win after striking out the side in the eighth and Craig Kimbrel picked up his seventh save - tying him for the NL lead with LA's Javy Guerra, who was victimized by the Braves, allowing five hits and three runs in just a third of an inning - his second blown save opportunity of the season.

After the Braves took the lead, Kimbrel struck out the first two batters in the ninth, then got Dee Gordon to ground to third for the game-ending out. Kimbrel has appeared in eight games, allowing only one earned run on six hits overall, striking out 14 in eight full innings. Venters has been even better in the set-up role, fanning 15 batters in 7 2/3 innings without surrendering a run.

The Braves have won seven of their last nine, but continue to chase the Nationals in the NL East. They remained 2 1/2 back, as Washington won their fourth straight, beating San Diego, 7-2.

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