|4:20 PM PT5:20 PM MT6:20 PM CT7:20 PM ET19:20 ET23:20 GMT7:20 4:20 PM MST6:20 PM EST6:50 PM VEN3:20 UAE (+1)6:20 PM CT, July 24, 2019
SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Georgia Attendance: 38,865
Royals' Keller set for hometown debut in Atlanta
Kansas City's Brad Keller will have extra motivation -- and a few additional fans in the seats -- when he faces the Atlanta Braves in the finale of a two-game series on Wednesday.
Keller, who is from Flowery Branch, Ga., a northeastern suburb of Atlanta, will make his first career appearance against his hometown team at Atlanta's SunTrust Park. The right-hander was drafted and signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013 before being acquired by Kansas City in 2017.
Keller (6-9, 4.18 ERA) will be opposed by veteran Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran (5-6, 3.61).
The Royals won the series opener 5-4 on Tuesday when they rallied for three runs in the eighth inning against the Braves' bullpen. It was the first meeting between the two clubs in Atlanta since 2013.
Keller is enjoying a very good month. In three starts during July, he is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 20 innings. He beat the Chicago White Sox in his most recent start on Thursday, pitching 6 1/3 innings and giving up four runs, two earned, with seven strikeouts and two walks. He had allowed two combined runs in 13 2/3 innings in his two previous starts against Detroit and Washington.
Keller has never faced the Braves. This will be his ninth interleague game, sixth start, and he is 1-2 with a 4.45 ERA against the National League. He has allowed just one homer in 32 1/3 innings in interleague competition.
"We're playing really good ball right now," Keller said of the Royals. "The offense is alive and killing it right now. The starters and relievers are doing their job. The (All-Star) break helped us, I think."
Teheran has bounced back from a rough June to pitch well in three July starts. In his last appearance on Friday against the Nationals, Teheran allowed one run on four hits and struck out five in 5 2/3 innings. He has walked only three batters in 17 2/3 innings while compiling a 1.53 ERA this month.
Teheran has faced the Royals only once in his career. He lost to them in 2016, despite allowing only two runs, one earned, in seven innings. This will be the 27th interleague start for Teheran, who is 6-13 with a 5.30 against American League opposition. He has allowed 33 homers in 149 1/3 innings in interleague games.
The Braves will hope for more production Wednesday from center fielder Ronald Acuna Jr., who went 0-for-3 and drew a walk on Tuesday and has reached base in 28 consecutive games. His on-base streak dates, which dates back to June 19, is the longest active stretch in the majors. Acuna also stole a base Tuesday, giving him 22.
"Thirty-thirty is the goal," Acuna said. "Stealing bases is probably one of the favorite parts of the game for me. Any chance when I get on base, I'm going to try to steal one."
Alex Gordon has been hot for the Royals. The left fielder was 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs and two RBIs on Tuesday, making him 10-for-25 (.400) over his past six games. Gordon has nine multi-hit games since July 2.
The Royals improved to 4-5 in interleague games and the Braves fell to 4-3 against the American League. The two clubs meet again Sept. 24-25 in Kansas City.
--Field Level Media
Updated July 24, 2019