July 24, 2019 / 3:11 AM / a month ago

Duda’s late HR helps Royals finish off Braves

EditorsNote: Clarifications to 2nd and 3rd grafs; 11th graf, Matt Joyce drew the walk, not Acuna

Jul 23, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) runs to first base after he hit a RBI double in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Pinch hitter Lucas Duda clubbed a 435-foot home run in the eighth inning to start a three-run rally and the visiting Kansas City Royals hung on for a 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.

Duda connected for his fourth career homer off reliever Anthony Swarzak (2-3), who lost his first decision since joining the Braves from the Mariners in mid-May. The home run also ended Swarzak’s 17-inning scoreless streak and sent the Royals to their eighth win in their last 11 games. It was Duda’s 13th career homer against the Braves, and it broke a 2-2 tie.

The Royals tacked on two more runs in the eighth when Jorge Soler walked and Humberto Arteaga was hit by a pitch, each with the bases loaded.

The winning pitcher was Tim Hill (1-0). Closer Ian Kennedy gave up three hits and one run to open the ninth, but set down the next three batters to earn his 18th save.

The first six innings involved a pitching duel between Kansas City’s Danny Duffy and Atlanta’s Dallas Keuchel.

Duffy pitched six innings and allowed one run on five hits, one walk and a season-high 11 strikeouts. The final six outs recorded by Duffy were via strikeouts.

Keuchel retired the first nine batters he faced, yielding his first hit on Whit Merrifield’s bunt to lead off the fourth inning. He allowed two runs on three hits and two walks and struck out a season-high 12, one short of matching his career best.

The Braves opening the scoring in the first inning. Josh Donaldson doubled to left to drive home Dansby Swanson.

The Royals tied the score with a run in the fourth when Alex Gordon drove a double into the right field corner to score Merrifield.

Gordon put Kansas City ahead with a solo homer, his 11th, in the sixth inning. Gordon was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs.

The Braves tied the score in the seventh when Matt Joyce walked but was forced at second by Ronald Acuna Jr. Acuna then stole second and scored when Freddie Freeman singled up the middle.

Acuna extended his career-long on-base streak to 28 games with the walk. His on-base streak dates to June 19 and is the longest active streak in the majors.

—Field Level Media

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