KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- All the Kansas City Royals needed to do to break out of a monthlong skid was to get back to interleague play.
Willie Bloomquist had three hits and three RBIs and Billy Butler had three hits and drove in two runs and the Royals defeated the Cincinnati Reds 7-4 Saturday night.The Royals won back-to-back games for the first time since May 17-19. By winning the first two games over the Reds, the Royals have won a series for the first time since May 5-6, going 0-9-1 in their previous 10 series. They had a stretch of 23 losses in 30 games."I think it's been overanalyzed the little funk we were in," Bloomquist said. "Hopefully, we're beyond that now and back to playing just the way we're capable of playing."Playing National League clubs for 15 straight games could be the tonic the Royals need. They went 33-21 against NL teams the previous three years."Everybody knows we've had a tough five weeks and hadn't put a lot of wins on the board," Royals manager Trey Hillman said.Kyle Davies (3-6), who was 0-5 with two no-decisions in his previous seven starts, picked up his first victory since April 30. Davies gave up two hits, but walked five and hit a batter in allowing three runs in five-plus innings."I obviously didn't want to go a walk per inning," Davies said. You're putting guys on base. You've got to be more consistent in the zone. I was throwing a lot of pitches. I know I had my fielders on their feet. The offense picked me up."Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo gave up 11 hits, and five runs in the first three innings to take the loss. Arroyo (7-5), who was pulled after walking Mitch Maier to lead off the sixth, allowed six runs total."I had pretty good stuff, not great-great but decent," Arroyo said. "They just fought me hard. I don't know a lot of those guys very well and they didn't know me as well. Bloomquist put on two good at-bats to start the game and that hurt me big time as they scored two runs. They hit balls that I made mistakes on and they hit some decent pitches in the hole. It just cost me more runs than we could afford."Bloomquist hit a two-run single in the Royals' three-run second. Butler, who extended his hitting streak to nine games, singled home David DeJesus with the other run."We were 7 for 12 with runners in scoring position," Bloomquist said. "That's been big for us. We haven't been getting that done as much as we would like lately. Just getting guys on base and getting hits is one thing, but getting them in is something we haven't been doing a lot of lately, but hopefully we're putting that behind us and turning the page on it. Our offense is starting to come alive."The Reds tied it with a three-run third, which Ramon Hernandez led off with a walk and Adam Rosales was hit by a pitch. Rookie Ryan Hanigan doubled down the left-field line, scoring both. Willy Taveras' sacrifice bunt advanced Hanigan to third. Alex Gonzalez drove in Hanigan with a sacrifice fly."We didn't just struggle with the bats, we struggled with pitching and we struggled on defense," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We just struggled period. When you are playing these American League teams and you don't score and you give them extra outs, you are going to lose. That's what happened. You saw it and it ain't easy to watch. It's especially frustrating to watch their pitcher give us a number of chances, a number of walks and for us to come away with very few runs."Arroyo gave up two more runs and five hits in the third, which Mark Teahen lead off with his eighth home run. DeJesus' two-out single scored Alberto Callaspo with the other run.Bloomquist and Butler hit run-producing singles in the sixth off reliever Jared Burton, giving the Royals a four-run cushion.Hernandez led off the ninth with a home run on the first pitch from Royals closer Joakim Soria.Taveras went 0 for 4, grounding into a double play to end the seventh, and is hitless in 32 at-bats.
Royals CF Coco Crisp, who has played in only five games since May 26 and did not play Saturday, could be headed for the disabled list with a sore right shoulder. "We may have to look at something here in the next couple of days," Hillman said. "It's really irritating him. He's a very high pain threshold guy, but it's hurting him." ... Hillman challenged third base umpire Tony Randazzo's foul call of Butler's long fly to left in the fourth. After reviewing television replays, the umpires upheld the call. It was the Royals' first challenge since the rule was initiated. ... Arroyo, who had allowed at least one run in the first inning in his previous five starts, struck out Teahen to end a scoreless first with the bases loaded.