MLB: Brewers turn to Corbin Burnes against improving KC

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The Milwaukee Brewers are hoping ace right-hander Corbin Burnes can get them back on track Friday when they open a three-game series against the visiting Kansas City Royals.

Burnes (3-2, 3.86 ERA) will be opposed by left-hander Josh Taylor (0-0, 6.55), the latter making his first start after nine relief appearances this season.

Milwaukee, which was idle Thursday, lost 8-1 at home on Wednesday to the Los Angeles Dodgers. After winning the series opener, the Brewers were outscored 14-3 in the final two games, giving up six home runs.

The Royals have won four of their last five games, matching their victory total from their previous 21 games. Kansas City has homered in 10 consecutive games, with 18 round-trippers so far in May.

Milwaukee is 2-8 in its last 10 games after getting off to an 18-9 start. The Brewers won five of their first six series, but now have dropped five of the last six.

“We’re not scoring runs the way we need to score runs,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We’re not pitching ideally, but that’s how a season goes. We’ve got a nice off-day here and show up on Friday and try to start a good streak.”

Milwaukee is 17-3 when scoring at least four runs, 3-14 when scoring three or fewer.

“Certainly, to win consistently, one run, two runs, that’s going to be rough to do on most days,” Counsell said. “We’ve been stuck at a low number for a bunch of these games and that’s leading to the little bit of inconsistency.”

Burnes, who won the Cy Young Award in 2021, has not been as sharp thus far as he was the last two seasons. He was 11-5 with a 2.43 ERA in 2021, and 12-8 with a 2.94 ERA last season.

In his last outing, Burnes took the loss in a 6-4 defeat at San Francisco, but only two of the five runs he allowed in six innings were earned. Burnes has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last five starts, and opponents are batting just .218 against him.

Burnes is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in two career starts against the Royals, allowing two runs in 12 innings.

The Royals, who had won just one of their first 11 series, took three of four against the White Sox, winning the series final Thursday when catcher Freddy Fermin laid down the safety squeeze in the ninth, scoring Nick Pratto from third for Kansas City’s first walk-off win of the season.

“He’s fouled off a couple sac bunts earlier and he stuck his nose in there and got it done,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “It’s a really hard play, if at all possible to defend … to get that bunt down against them is really impressive.”

Mike Massey homered for the second consecutive game on Thursday for the Royals. Massey is batting .476 (10-for-21) over his last seven games.

With starters Ryan Yarbrough and Daniel Lynch on the injured list, the Royals will turn to Taylor for the series opener in Milwaukee. Taylor has pitched in 130 major league games, making his only previous career start in 2019 with Boston. He has never faced the Brewers.

–Field Level Media

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