KANSAS CITY, MO. – Travis Ishikawa is having a rough season. On this night, he enjoyed one of the best games of his career.
Ishikawa had three extra-base hits and drove in four runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates outslugged the Kansas City Royals 10-7 Monday.
Ishikawa, who was 1-for-13 with one RBI in nine games since the Pirates claimed him on waivers July 5, hit a two-run double in a four-run second that came within inches of going out. He homered in the fifth with Jung Ho Kang aboard. And in the eighth inning, Ishikawa’s double sparked a two-run rally.
“Big night at the plate,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He showed a real good swing to left field Sunday in Milwaukee when he pounded the ball to the wall. He hit another one sharp. Those two balls hit hard in this ballpark to dead left field. And that shot to the gap in right-center in the eighth was a shot in the arm for us.”
Ishikawa was on the disabled list this year because of a lower back injury. He played 37 games in the minors, was sent outright to Class AAA Sacramento by the San Francisco Giants and designated for assignment before the Pirates picked him up.
“I don’t have a strategy,” Ishikawa said. “I couldn’t tell you why it worked tonight. I’m just trying to see the ball. Wherever it goes, it goes. I wish I could tell you I was controlling it, but if I could my average would have been a lot higher.”
A.J. Burnett (8-3) won despite giving up a season-high five earned runs and 11 hits — including two homers — in the 38-year-old’s first start since his first career trip to the All-Star Game.
The Royals cut the deficit to 8-7 in the seventh and chased Burnett. But Pittsburgh answered with Neil Walker’s two-run triple in the eighth.
Mark Melancon worked the ninth for his 30th save in 31 opportunities. He has converted a franchise-record 28 consecutive saves.