CLEVELAND (AP) — Rookie Konnor Pilkington struck out eight in five innings for his first major league win and the Cleveland Guardians beat the Kansas City Royals 4-0 Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep.
Pilkington, making his third career start and sixth appearance, worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth. The left-hander is taking the rotation spot of injured Aaron Civale.
Pilkington was showered with beer by teammates to commemorate the win. He knew the importance of getting out of the fourth inning.
“I know I needed some kind of action, maybe a strikeout, maybe a double-play ball, something like that,” he said. “Cards fell my way and I just kept executing pitches.”
José Ramírez had a run-scoring groundout in the fifth for his major league leading 52nd RBI. Amed Rosario, Andrés Giménez and Richie Palacios also drove in runs for Cleveland.
Kansas City has dropped 11 of 13 and has the worst record in the majors at 16-33.
Brad Keller (1-6) allowed four runs and six hits in six innings.
Four Cleveland pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts. Royals manager Mike Matheny thought Keller gave his team a chance to win but pointed to those strikeouts as a major factor in another difficult day.
“It continues to be tough,” Matheny said. “We’ve had some really hard losses and every one of them now continues to pile on the frustration in that room.”
Pilkington (1-0) struck out his first four hitters. He stranded two in the second and one in the third before dodging major trouble in the fourth.
The inning began when Salvador Perez walked and MJ Melendez singled. Pilkington struck out Hunter Dozier, but Carlos Santana’s sharply hit single to right loaded the bases.
Pitching coach Carl Willis visited Pilkington on…