TONIGHT: The Royals visit Zephyr Field for a 7:00 p.m. game vs. New Orleans. It's game 2 of a 4-game series and road trip. Omaha leads the series 1-0 and has won 9 of its last 10 games. New Orleans leads the season series 2-1. The pre-game show is on the air at 6:40 p.m. on Omaha's KOIL AM-1180 and at www.oroyals.com.
LAST NIGHT: The Royals banged out 14 hits in a 9-2 romp in the series opener. Alex Gordon stroked an RBI double in a 3-run 4th inning as Omaha took a 4-1 lead. He added a solo homer in the 7th to make it 7-2. Irving Falu had 3 hits and a walk and scored 2 runs. David Lough knocked in 3 runs, the last 2 coming on his 9th inning home run to cap the scoring. Gaby Hernandez (4-4) got the win, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits over 7.0 innings, walking 1 and striking out 6. Z's lefty Hunter Jones (0-4) took the loss, giving up 7 runs (6 earned) on 9 hits over 5.1 frames.
ROYALS REPORT: Gordon is riding a 9-game hitting streak, his longest of the year. In that time, he's batting .444 (16-for-36) to raise his average 38 points to .376. He also has 3 homers and 9 RBI in those 9 contests. In 27 games with Omaha, he has hit 9 homers and has 25 RBI. Gordon owns a .515 on-base percentage and a .733 slugging percentage in PCL action. *** Lough was hitless in 5 at-bats last night, before his 9th inning home run extended his hit string to 11 games. During the streak, which is the longest for a Royals batter this season, he has had just 1 hit in all but 1 contest. Lough is hitting .280 (14-for-50) during the streak, but he's batting .321 (25-for-78) with 4 homers and 10 RBI in his last 17 games. *** Falu posted his team-leading 21st multi-hit game Tuesday night. His 65 hits are tied for 3rd-most in the PCL, while his 36 runs are tied for 5th. Falu has hit in 4 straight, going 8-for-18 (.444), scoring 6 times and driving in 1 run. *** In his last 2 starts, Hernandez is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA (4 ER in 13.0 IP). Prior to that, he had lost 2 straight outings, giving up 15 earned runs in 10.1 innings for a 13.06 ERA. Last night, he did give up a home run to Donnie Murphy. It was Hernandez' league-leading 15th home run allowed - 5 more than given up by any other PCL pitcher. In 3 games vs. Omaha, Murphy - a former KC farmhand - is 4-for-12 with 3 homers and 6 RBI. *** Josh Rupe hurled a perfect 9th inning last night, striking out the side. In 8 relief outings for Omaha, Rupe has a 0.00 ERA, allowing just 5 hits and 1 unearned run in 14.0 innings, walking 3 and striking out 13. Rupe went 1-1 with a 5.59 ERA in 11 outings for KC this season. *** Kila Ka'aihue was 1-for-3 with an RBI last night. He also picked up 2 walks, giving him a PCL-best 41 bases on balls. He also leads the loop in on-base percentage (.503), is 3rd in slugging (.642) and 6th in average (.333). *** Jai Miller had a double in 5 at-bats Tuesday night, giving him 5 two-baggers in his past 7 contests. Playing in his 25th game with Omaha, he picked up his 1st stolen base. Miller had 3 steals in 10 games with Sacramento to begin the year. *** Kurt Mertins drilled 2 doubles last night. After being promoted from Northwest Arkansas, Mertins had 1 double in each of his 1st 2 Triple-A tilts on May 13-14, but his only extra-base hit in 11 games prior to Tuesday was his 1st Triple-A home run last Wednesday. *** In his last 17 games, Jordan Parraz is hitting at a .400 clip (24-for-60) with 1 home run and 13 RBI. *** Ed Lucas, who had the night off Tuesday, has hit in 4 straight. During the streak, which began on May 18 and was interrupted by a 10-day stint on the DL, Lucas is 10-for-18 (.556) with 4 doubles, 1 home run, 3 RBI and 7 runs scored. *** In Omaha's last 3 wins, coming in the past 4 contests, the Royals have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 28-4.
STARTERS: RH Bryan Bullington (2-0, 1.60) vs. RH Rick VandenHurk (4-2, 3.68)
Bullington makes his 6th start (10th appearance) of the year with Omaha. The 29-year old righty began the season in the Royals' rotation. After 1 start, he was moved into the bullpen when Anthony Lerew was shifted into the rotation, but moved back into the rotation in late April when Bruce Chen was called up by KC. Bullington was recalled by KC on May 17, but after going 0-1 with a 12.00 ERA in 3 relief appearances, he was optioned back to Omaha on May 25 to make roster space for infielder Wilson Betemit. Since rejoining Omaha, Bullington has tossed 3.0 scoreless innings in 2 relief appearances. All 5 of Bullington's starts have been quality starts, with the most recent coming May 12 at Reno. His 1.60 ERA is tops in the PCL and he also leads the league in average against (.195) and in WHIP (0.93). The 1st overall pick in the 2002 draft by Pittsburgh, Bullington was signed by KC as a minor league free agent last November. In 2009, he spent most of the season with Toronto's Triple-A affiliate, Las Vegas, but also had 4 relief outings with the Blue Jays in April, including a pair at KC. He worked entirely in relief last year for the first time in his professional career. In 28 games with Las Vegas, he was 3-1 with a 3.52 ERA and 3 saves, after recording just 1 save in his first 5 pro seasons. In 38.1 innings, he walked just 7 and struck out 43 PCL batters. He had no record and a 3.00 ERA in his 4 outings with Toronto. In 2008, he opened the campaign with the Pirates' Triple-A club, Indianapolis. He was named the International League Pitcher of the Week after going 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in 2 starts May 19-26, 2008. Overall, he went 4-6 with a 5.52 ERA in 15 starts for Indy. He was designated for assignment on July 3 and was claimed off waivers by Cleveland a week later, spending the rest of 2008 between Triple-A Buffalo and the Indians. Bullington was the starter and winner of the 2007 Triple-A All-Star Game. He missed the entire 2006 season, recovering from right shoulder surgery. He made his Major League debut with the Pirates in relief on September 18, 2005 vs. Cincinnati. In 2004, he pitched in both the All-Star Futures Game at Houston's Minute Maid Park and in the Eastern League All-Star Game. Bullington, who pitched for 3 seasons at Ball State University, was originally selected by KC in the 37th round of the 1999 draft out of Madison High in Indiana, but did not sign.
PROBABLES FOR REMAINDER OF SERIES:
Thur., 7:000 p.m.: RH Anthony Lerew (4-2, 2.77) vs. RH Brian Lawrence (3-4, 4.76)
Fri., 7:00 p.m.: RH Philip Humber (4-3, 3.82) vs. RN Brad Stone (2-1, 3.23)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.