KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kris Bubic worked hard through five innings to earn his first major league win as the Kansas City Royals defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 Friday night for their fourth straight victory.
Bubic (1-5), the second of four pitchers from the first round of the 2018 draft to debut for Kansas City in 2020, faced baserunners in every inning, but allowed just one run on six hits in five innings.
“It’s obviously pretty fun to know you’re in the win column,” Bubic said. “But without the team effort tonight, getting the early runs, this doesn’t happen. I’m definitely glad to celebrate this.”
The 23-year-old lefty won in his eighth big league start. He walked two and struck out six, five of those coming with runners in scoring position.
“He did a nice job limiting the damage,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said of Bubic. “That (second) inning, he did a great job of getting the swing and miss when he needed it.”
Greg Holland pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save.
Royals star catcher Salvador Perez came off the injured list and hit a double and single. He had missed the last 20 games with fluid on his left eye.
Adalberto Mondesi homered, scored three runs and stole two bases for the Royals. Maikel Franco hit a pair of RBI singles.
Steven Brault (0-3) allowed three runs on five hits in four innings.
“Too many three-ball counts, scattered the fastball,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of Brault. “Just overall not being able to command the zone. I think that’s the biggest thing. Obviously 97 pitches in four innings, we’ve got to make sure that we’re more efficient than that.”
Adam Frazier saw his 12-game hitting streak snapped. It was the longest hitting streak for the Pirates this season.
Mondesi’s third home run of the season, all in the last five games, put the Royals up 1-0 in the first. He also extended his hitting streak to eight games, tying his career high.
“I think it’s not trying to swing too hard,” Mondesi said of his recent success. “When the guy is throwing hard you obviously want to hit the ball hard. I think slowing down my swing and doing more contact has helped.”
The Royals got two more runs in the third. Franco hit an RBI single and Perez scored on a wild pitch.
The Pirates cut the lead to 3-1 in the fourth, but Bubic escaped trouble for the second time in three innings. After getting out of a first-and-third jam with no outs in the second by striking out the side, Bubic faced the same situation in the fourth.
He gave up an RBI double to Jacob Stallings, putting runners on second and third, still with no outs. But Bubic then retired the next three batters on an infield popup, a strikeout and a flyout.
“Innings two through four, it’s the worst fastball command I’ve had all year,” Bubic said. “But I’m glad to be resilient in those innings and not give in. I had some great defense behind me.”
Mondesi scored three runs, the last coming in the seventh when he led off with a walk, stole two bases and scored on Franco’s second RBI single.
Josh Bell’s two-run homer in the eighth drew the Pirates to within 4-3.
Pirates: Placed RHP Tyler Bashlor on the 10-day Injured List with lower back inflammation. LHP Austin Davis was recalled.
Royals: Optioned C Maibrys Viloria to the alternate site.
RHP Trevor Williams (1-6, 5.80 ERA) pitches for the Pirates on Saturday. He’s allowed 10 homers in 40 1/3 innings this season.
RHP Carlos Hernandez (0-0, 1.42 ERA) will make his first career start for the Royals. He has pitched 6 1/3 innings out of the bullpen in two appearances since making his major league debut Sept. 1.
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