Zach Eflin scattered four hits to record his second complete game in three outings and second career shutout Saturday as the visiting Philadelphia Phillies cruised to a 7-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
Rhys Hoskins and Andrew McCutchen each drove in a pair of runs, and Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez had RBI singles as the Phillies collected their ninth win in their last 13 games.
Eflin (5-3), who struck out seven without walking a batter, benefited from 14 ground-ball outs to post his fourth career complete game. He also went the distance on April 28, allowing one run on seven hits in a 5-1 win over Miami.
The 25-year-old Eflin’s complete-game shutout was the Phillies’ first since Jeremy Hellickson scattered three hits in an 8-0 romp over the Marlins on Sept. 17, 2016.
Eflin highlighted his 110-pitch performance by retiring the side on four pitches in the sixth inning.
Philadelphia made the most of its opportunities Saturday, one day after mustering just four hits, striking out 12 times and going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in a 5-1 setback in the series opener.
The Phillies also took advantage of seven walks — including four from Royals starter Brad Keller (2-4). The 23-year-old, who has issued 31 free passes in his last eight starts, permitted six runs (five earned) on five hits in five innings to take the loss.
Hoskins opened the scoring with two outs in the third inning by slapping a single to left-center field off Keller, plating Andrew Knapp and McCutchen.
Keller didn’t help himself by uncorking a wild pitch that scored Jean Segura before striking out J.T. Realmuto to end the inning.
Philadelphia loaded the bases in the fourth inning before McCutchen ripped a sharp grounder to third baseman Hunter Dozier, who immediately stepped on the bag before his throw home sailed off line and allowed Odubel Herrera to give the Phillies a 4-0 lead.
Franco’s RBI single and McCutchen’s run-scoring groundout extended Philadelphia’s lead to 6-0 in the sixth inning before Hernandez’s infield single with the bases loaded in the ninth capped the scoring.
—Field Level Media