Kansas City rookie righthander Yordano Ventura did not make it out of the fifth inning Sunday.

John Sleezer, Kansas City Star

Royals' bats fall silent as Twins pound Ventura

  • Article by: DAVE SKRETTA
  • Associated Press
  • April 21, 2014 - 6:50 AM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yordano Ventura lived up to his nickname of "Ace" in two dazzling starts to begin his season.

He showed Sunday that he's still learning to be a big league pitcher.

The Royals' flame-throwing youngster had all sorts of problems in an 8-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins. Ventura walked four, threw a wild pitch and committed an error when he tried to pick off a runner at first base.

"There's going to be some days he's going to struggle with his command and there's some days he's going to be great," manager Ned Yost said. "He's day-to-day to duplicate his mechanics. When he repeats his mechanics, he makes it look easy."

When he doesn't, well, he looks a lot like he did against the Twins.

"I tried to correct, to make adjustments," Ventura said through Bruce Chen, his translator. "It's not every day that I can make the pitches, but I wanted to go deep and help the team."

The Royals had won five in a row since getting swept by the Twins last weekend.

"They capitalized on mistakes," designated hitter Billy Butler said. "We won the series and we were going for a sweep, but it didn't happen and now we're getting ready for Cleveland. We're starting to hit the ball and the starting pitching is there. We're going in the right direction."

Ventura was pulled from the game in the fifth, when the 22-year-old right-hander gave up a leadoff triple to Trevor Plouffe and a single to Chris Colabello. He allowed four runs on six hits and four walks in four-plus innings, a line that looks even uglier after two dominant outings in which he allowed a combined one run on six hits against Tampa Bay and Houston.

"Against a tough kid, we've never seen him before, throws the living fire out of the ball, great fastball, good change-up, we made him work a little bit," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Got a couple early, which was huge, and [Phil] Hughes did a really nice job."

The Royals bullpen, which had thrown 14 straight scoreless innings, never gave their offense a chance to get Ventura off the hook. Josmil Pinto homered off Louis Coleman later in the fifth, and Justin Marks — making his big league debut — allowed three more runs in the seventh.


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