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Kendrys Morales' 13th-inning homer lifts Kansas City Royals over Atlanta Braves

By
Alan Eskew, The Sports Xchange
Kansas City Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales (25). Photo by Jeff Moffett/UPI
Kansas City Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales (25). Photo by Jeff Moffett/UPI | License Photo

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kendrys Morales was 0-for-5 on the day with two strikeouts, his average dripping below .200, when he came to the plate in the 13th inning Sunday.

He then delivered in the clutch.

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Morales blasted a two-run homer to straightaway center with two outs, and the Kansas City Royals outlasted the Atlanta Braves 4-2 Sunday.

"We needed a win like this," Morales said through a translator after Kansas City took the three-game series two games to one. "The most important thing is we got a win, however we got it. Whether it was a home run or a base hit or an error or a base on balls, whatever it was, it was important we got it."

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Morales homered off Jason Grilli, the only batter Grilli faced. Eric O'Flaherty (0-3) gave up a hit to Alcides Escobar to lead off the inning, and he took the loss. Escobar finished with four hits, equaling his career high. He also scored two runs and drove in another.

Chien-Ming Wang (2-0) claimed the victory after throwing one scoreless inning. He was the ninth Royals pitcher, a club record for a single game.

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Wade Davis was trusted with a 2-0 lead in the ninth, but the Royals closer failed to hold it, blowing a save for the first time in nine chances this season. Davis gave up two runs on three hits and a walk.

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Mallex Smith and Erick Aybar, who did not enter the game until the seventh inning as a pinch runner, stroked RBI singles off Davis to send the game into extra innings.

"You hate to say it, but it's real demoralizing when you lose a game in the ninth inning," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It is. To be able to come back and win it in the 13th like that was good medicine for us.

"Davis gave up a blooper up the middle, the four-pitch walk hurt him, and then he kind of put a center-cut (pitch) that Smith pulled past (first baseman Eric Hosmer). ... You think 'OK, we still have a shot,' and then here comes another blooper down the line. It was just one of those days where nothing went right for him."

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With Kris Medlen on the disabled list due to rotator cuff inflammation, left-hander Danny Duffy made his first start after 16 relief appearances for Kansas City. Duffy yielded a single to Nick Markakis to lead off the game, then retired the next eight batters, striking out five.

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Duffy walked Markakis and Gordon Beckham with two outs in the third before retiring Freddie Freeman on a ground ball. He was removed after three scoreless innings and 48 pitches.

"I think a lost a little bit of gas in the last inning," Duffy said. "I lost my legs a little bit, but that was to be expected. The more and more I throw the more, I'll be able to get deeper into the game."

Peter Moylan, who was just promoted from Triple-A Omaha, worked a flawless fourth, but he committed a fielding error on Chase d'Arnaud's bunt to lead off the fifth. Left-hander Brian Flynn was summoned from the bullpen. After Smith's sacrifice bunt and Daniel Castro's groundout advanced d'Arnaud to third, Flynn struck out Markakis to end the inning.

The Royals got a run in the first. Escobar led off with a double and scored on Hosmer's one-out single off Matt Wisler. Hosmer has hit safely in 31 of his past 33 games.

The Royals made it 2-0 in the eighth when Jarrod Dyson doubled to begin the inning and scored on Escobar's single, his third hit.

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Wisler was removed with one out in the eighth, having allowed two runs on eight hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.

"Wisler pitched his butt off," Smith said. "We have to find a way to get him a win. It sucks to lose."

After Markakis' single to lead off the game, the Braves did not get another hit until Tyler Flowers and Jeff Francoeur had back-to-back singles off Luke Hochevar with two outs in the sixth. Ender Inciarte looked at a called third strike to end the inning.

"I thought it was one heck of a game, and it's usually these games where you go 13, 14 innings where something's going to end up like this," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It very easily could have been us. They did it.

"I'm proud of the club. We battled. Wisler pitched great. The bullpen did a terrific job. ... We lose the game, but I think the club did one hell of a job."

NOTES: Royals Hall of Famer George Brett celebrated his 63rd birthday. ... In a salute to the Negro Leagues and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, the Royals wore replica Monarchs uniforms, while the Braves wore road gray uniforms with Atlanta block lettering on the front inspired by the 1938 Atlanta Black Crackers. ... Royals 3B Mike Moustakas, who is on the disabled list with a fractured left thumb, took flip swings in the cage. ... Atlanta starting pitchers had a 2.89 ERA in the previous 13 games, the third-lowest ERA in that span. ... The Braves continue their trip with four games at Pittsburgh, where RHP Williams Perez will start Monday. The Pirates will counter with LHP Jonathon Niese. ... The Red Sox come to Kauffman Stadium for a three-game set. Boston RHP Rick Porcello and Royals RHP Yordano Ventura are the scheduled Monday starters.

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