Brad Keller was nearing 50 pitches when he struck out Mike Trout and Jared Walsh to end the top of the third inning with the bases loaded Wednesday afternoon. Getting out of that frame unscathed turned around Keller’s outing.
The right-hander looked like the ace Kansas City was hoping he’d be in the Royals’ 6-1 win at Kauffman Stadium. Keller’s longest outing of the season brought 5 2/3 innings of one-run baseball with five strikeouts, four hits and one walk in the series finale against the Angels.
The only blemish on his final line happened in the sixth inning when Jared Walsh doubled in Trout to put the Angels on the board. Keller was removed in favor of Jake Brentz two batters later, after José Iglesias beat out a throw to first on a potential double-play grounder to short.
The one-run lead eventually grew, as the Kansas City offense packed in plenty of power and speed to give Keller insurance for his first win of the season.
Salvador Perez notched his seventh and eighth hits of the series, and that set the tone for the lineup’s offensive party in the game’s later innings. Cam Gallagher drove in Michael A. Taylor with a sac fly that traveled only 110 feet from home plate, while Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer.
In his prior start against the Chicago White Sox, Keller was tagged for the loss after he gave up four earned runs in 3 1/3 innings on 69 pitches. It wasn’t until the fifth inning against Anaheim that Keller hit that same pitch count.