Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals hosted "School Day at the K," but it was the Washington Nationals who did all the teaching.
The Nationals outplayed the Royals from a pitching, hitting and defense standpoint, and that made the game a laugher from the start. They scored six runs in the first inning and four in the third to blow away the Royals 13-2 in front of 38,610 -- nearly 16,000 of them kids -- on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon.
The lower bowl was filled at 10 a.m. for "School Day at the K," a demonstration by the local Fox affiliate's weather team.
"It was good to win the game and the series here, which is tough to do," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "They helped us out in that first inning. They're a very good defensive team. Any time you give away extra outs -- and they gave us three outs in the first -- we need to capitalize on it."
The Nationals finished with 16 hits, including two home runs, while limiting the Royals to five hits.
The hardest part for Washington starter Stephen Strasburg was keeping his focus.
"It made it a little bit more difficult," Strasburg said. "When you get that much run support early on, it's easy to let up. You have to trick your mind and keep thinking it's a 0-0 ballgame.
"Do I appreciate it? Absolutely."
The Nationals batted around twice in the first three innings. Kris Medlen (1-3) gave up nine runs (six earned) and nine hits in two-plus innings.
Strasburg (5-0) picked up the win for Washington. He gave up two runs and five hits in six innings with one walk and seven strikeouts.
The Royals, who came into the game tied with the Nationals for the fewest errors in Major League Baseball, had errors on the first two batters of the game.
Michael Taylor led off with a sharp ground ball that got past third baseman Mike Moustakas for a two-base error. Anthony Rendon followed with a grounder that eluded second baseman Omar Infante.
Bryce Harper blooped a single to center that scored Taylor. Ryan Zimmerman followed with a double down the left-field line that scored Rendon. Daniel Murphy roped a double to right that scored Harper and Zimmerman.
Murphy went to third on an error by Jarrod Dyson, the third Royals error of the inning before the first out was recorded. Jayson Werth doubled to score Murphy before Wilson Ramos struck out swinging for the first out of the inning. Clint Robinson drove in Werth, who advanced to third on a wild pitch, with a sacrifice fly.
Medlen gave up six runs (three earned) in the first inning.
"It just wasn't Medlen's day," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "He just couldn't get it going and the defense didn't help him. Three errors in the first inning didn't help him. It was just a struggle from the first inning on."
Strasburg was not sharp either but had plenty of cushion. He gave up two runs in the bottom of the second on two-out hits by Drew Butera and Alcides Escobar. Strasburg required 45 pitches to get through two innings.
"Stras wasn't real sharp when we gave him the lead," Baker said. "We wanted to score big to make sure they didn't come back like they did last night."
Any threat of a comeback ended quickly in the third when the first five batters reached base safely. Zimmerman and Murphy singled before a walk to Werth chased Medlen.
Danny Duffy was barely more effective, allowing one run and three hits.
The Nationals added a run in the fourth on Murphy's fourth home run of the season, leaving him a triple shy of the cycle.
"He's incredible," Harper said. "He drives the ball wherever he hits it. The approach he has day in and day out in the cage, on the field and staying with his routine is something you want every teammate to have."
Harper's solo shot in the fifth extended the lead to 12-2. It was his 10th home run of the season but his first in nine games.
"To tell you the truth, it was a terrible swing," Harper said, "but it hit my barrel. I'll take it. I've been trying to stay with my approach. It will come. I ain't worried a bit."
Murphy led off the sixth with a single, his fourth hit of the game. He finished 4-for-5 with a double, home run and four runs scored. It was his 14th career four-hit game.
The frustration finally got to the Royals in the sixth. Eric Hosmer was ejected for the first time in his career after arguing with home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor.
NOTES: The last time the Royals had three errors in an inning was May 8, 2013, at Baltimore in a 5-3 loss. ... Wednesday was the 18th annual "School Day at the K" at Kauffman Stadium, dubbed "the largest educational field trip in Kansas City." The local Fox affiliate brings its entire weather team to the stadium to give demonstrations in the field of weather. ... Nationals manager Dusty Baker said OF Ben Revere, who has missed all but one game with a right oblique strain, will join the club in Chicago for the upcoming series against the Cubs. Revere was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 6, and has been on a rehab assignment that completed Tuesday. "I don't know when he'll be activated, but we'll see him (tonight)," Baker said. "We'll figure out when to activate him."... Washington OF Bryce Harper entered Wednesday's game on a 1-for-20 skid, but Baker said he wasn't thinking about giving him a break. "I asked him if he needed a day off and he said, 'No.' This is something (he's) got to fight through. There's a good chance that if I give him a day off and he doesn't fight through it, he'll be in the same boat tomorrow."... Royals 3B Mike Moustakas was back in the starting lineup after being held of out the last two games with a swollen left thumb. He had a big two-run single as a pinch-hitter in the Royals' comeback Tuesday night. His single tied the score off Washington closer Jonathan Papelbon. Moustakas scored the game-winner on a single from Lorenzo Cain.