Royals bat around in the third inning, take a 4-1 lead against the Giants

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The Royals did not hit the ball terribly hard in the top of the third inning against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong, but they used their speed and place discipline to create a rally and score four runs. After starter Jason Vargas hit a fly ball to deep center field for the first out after a decent at-bat, Alcides Escobar singled to center field. Escobar was erased on a 3-6 fielder’s choice ground ball by Alex Gordon, but Gordon promptly stole second base — the Royals’ first stolen base of the World Series, oddly enough.

Lorenzo Cain hit a weak ground ball to shortstop and had just enough speed to beat out Brandon Crawford’s throw, though he pulled up after lunging at the first base bag. He stayed in the game. Gordon had advanced to third in the meantime. Eric Hosmer chopped a grounder to first baseman Brandon Belt, who threw to Vogelsong covering the bag, but it wasn’t in time. Vogelsong didn’t appear to have the best footwork covering the bag but it was a tough play.

Vogelsong then walked Mike Moustakas on four pitches to load the bases. Manager Bruce Bochy sent reliever Jean Machi to warm up. The meltdown continued. With a 2-2 count, Omar Infante grounded a single up the middle, plating two runs to give the Royals a 3-1 lead. Vogelsong fell behind Salvador Perez 3-0, pumped a get-me-over fastball for a strike, then surrendered a single to center field for yet another Royals run.

Bochy strolled out from the dugout to take the baseball from Vogelsong. Machi came in and walked Jarrod Dyson to load the bases again. Vargas worked a 3-2 count and tossed his bat as if he had drawn a bases-loaded walk. He got about 30 feet down the line before he was made aware of his error. Laughing off the embarrassing moment, Vargas then took strike three looking to end the inning.

Vogelsong finishes his night having allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings.

Dallas Keuchel could make season debut on Friday vs. Nationals

Dallas Keuchel
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Braves manager Brian Snitker is hoping recently-signed starter Dallas Keuchel will make his season debut on Friday when the Braves open a 10-game road trip with a three-game set against the Nationals, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. For now, the Braves have not officially named a starter for Friday.

After spending seven months as a free agent, Keuchel finally inked a one-year, $13 million contract with the Braves on June 6. He tossed seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts in his first start with Single-A Rome, then gave up three runs on 11 hits across seven innings for Double-A Mississippi on Saturday.

Last year, his final season with the Astros, Keuchel went 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA and a 153/58 K/BB ratio in 204 2/3 innings. The 31-year-old supposedly worried prospective teams due to his declining strikeout rate.

Keuchel is hoping to continue the Braves’ momentum, as the club has won 9 of its last 10 games and is 12-3 overall in June thus far, building up a 2.5-game lead over the Phillies in the NL East.