KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) ― Luis Mendoza was the best pitcher in the Pacific Coast League last season. There were doubts if he could parlay that success into the major leagues.
He entered this season with a 6-9 record and 7.36 ERA in 38 games in the majors.
The Kansas City Royals, however, have stuck with the 28-year-old right-hander and are beginning to reap the benefits.
Mendoza pitched into the eighth inning, Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson stroked two hits each and drove in a run as the Royals beat the Cleveland Indians 5-2 on Wednesday night.
“You can’t give up on starting pitching,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It was the Pacific Coast League, but he was the Pacific Coast League pitcher of the year last year. He went through the entire year as the best pitcher in that league in a hitter’s league. So we knew it was there. We knew he had to get his feet underneath him. The more comfortable he got, we felt the better off he would be both for himself and for us. So far that’s shown to be true.”
New York Yankees left fielder Ichiro Suzuki chases a home run hit by the Orioles’ J.J. Hardy in the seventh inning. (AP-Yonhap News)
The Royals, who have the worst record in the American League (42-61), won consecutive games for the first time since June 27-29.
Mendoza (5-7) limited the Indians to two runs and four hits, only one after the fourth inning, and went 7 1/3 innings to pick up the victory.
“A very, very good outing,” Yost said. “He commanded his stuff real well, mixed in his breaking ball good and got us into the eighth inning with very little damage done against us. He was on the attack and kept his pitch count down. He threw an excellent ball game. He had done his job. We didn’t want to take any chance of anything building up.”
Mendoza, who was 1/3 in his four previous starts, did not throw more than 11 pitches in an inning except for the third when he threw 25.
Yanks rout Orioles to stop skid
NEW YORK (AP) ― No warm fuzzies for Zach Britton when he thinks about Yankee Stadium. He just gets smoked.
A year and two days after he retired just one batter during a 12-run first inning, Britton returned to the scene of his nadir. This one wasn’t much better.
Robinson Cano hit a grand slam in a seven-run third inning, and New York gave Britton another shellacking in a 12-3 rout of the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday that stopped a four-game losing streak.
“We’re in the hunt, and I understand what I have to do to be at this level,” Britton said. “I’m not getting it done right now. So I got to either do something, or somebody else is going to come up and find a way to do the job. And that’s the way it should be.”
Derek Jeter had three hits and three RBIs on a rainy afternoon, and Joba Chamberlain returned from elbow and ankle injuries that had sidelined him since June 5 last season. Phil Hughes (11-8) pitched homerless ball for only the fifth time this year.
A night after wasting a five-run, first-inning lead in an 11-5 defeat, New York outhit Baltimore 15-13 and went 7 for 13 with runners in scoring position. The Orioles were 0 for 15 RISP ― matching the franchise’s worst since moving to Baltimore for the 1954 season, an 0-for-15 night at Seattle’s Kingdome on Aug. 21, 1995.
Chicago White Sox 3, Minnesota 2
Milwaukee 13, Houston 4
Pittsburgh 8, Chicago Cubs 4
Arizona 4, LA Dodgers 0
Tampa Bay 4, Oakland 1
Detroit 7, Boston 5
Philadelphia 3, Washington 2
Miami 4, Atlanta 2
Cincinnati 6, San Diego 4
Texas 11, LA Angels 10
St. Louis 9, Colorado 6
Seattle 5, Toronto 3
NY Mets 2, San Francisco 1