Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
Atlanta Braves @ Kansas City Royals
Scheduled Start Time: 8:10 PM ET
(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Braves were victorious in their first-ever visit to Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night, and they'll try to make it two in a row on Wednesday when they wrap up a two-game interleague series with the Kansas City Royals.
Jason Heyward did the heavy lifting for Atlanta in Tuesday's 4-3 win, as he hit a two-run double in the fifth inning and then delivered the go-ahead home run in the seventh. Heyward entered the game hitting .195 with no home runs over his previous 45 plate appearances.
'It's building, it's building,' Heyward said of his comfort level at the plate. 'It's going to take time. It's going to take analyzing to make sure I know what's going on. Be very aware of how I'm feeling up there and what I need to tweak. It's definitely a step in the right direction.'
Outfielder Justin Upton returned to the Braves lineup after sitting out the previous two games with a sore hand. He went 1-for-4 with a walk batting out of the No. 3 hole.
Royals starter Ervin Santana exited after giving up three runs on six hits over six innings, marking the first time in eight starts he failed to pitch at least seven innings. He entered the game with a 0.94 ERA in four June starts.
For Atlanta, Kris Medlen went seven innings and gave up three runs on seven hits. Two of those three runs came on Eric Hosmer's game-tying homer in the fifth inning.
In the ninth inning, closer Craig Kimbrel worked his way out of a jam to record his 22nd save of the season and 16th consecutive scoreless inning. Kimbrel walked the leadoff batter and then gave up a single to put runners on the corners. However, he then fanned the next two batters and then got Alcides Escobar to fly out to end the game.
Left-hander Mike Minor takes the hill for the Braves on Wednesday night as they try to sweep the brief two-game set. Minor served up three home runs against the Mets his last time out and has posted a 6.00 ERA over his last two outings. He had a 2.44 ERA through his first 13 starts of the season.
'I just threw more balls over the middle of the plate,' Minor said following his last start. 'I didn't have a lot of offspeed, and the offspeed I threw wasn't very good. It was either a curveball or over the middle of the plate. So, I threw a lot of fastballs and felt like I got guys two strikes, but a lot of times they were fouling those balls straight back, so, I wasn't really throwing anything at them to get them off the fastball.'
For Kansas City, Luis Mendoza has struggled to pitch deep into games and that was the case again last Wednesday against Cleveland. In that outing, the right-hander retired 12 of the first 13 batters he faced but eventually left in the sixth inning when he allowed three runs without recording an out.
Atlanta leads the all-time series, 6-3.