KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Cole Irvin was outstanding in his major league debut and the Philadelphia Phillies scored six times in the fifth inning to beat the Kansas City Royals 6-1 on Sunday in the rubber match of their three-game series.
J.T. Realmuto hit a two-run double and Odubel Herrera followed with a two-run single for Philadelphia.
Irvin (1-0) threw seven innings of one-run ball, allowing five hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Seranthony Dominguez and Juan Nicasio each tossed a scoreless inning to close it out for the 25-year-old lefty.
Kansas City has lost 12 consecutive rubber games, a streak that stretches back to May 30 last year, when the Royals took two of three against Minnesota.
Irvin’s strong start continued an impressive run by Philadelphia’s rotation. Over their last 15 games, Phillies starters have a 2.36 ERA — second-best in the majors during that span.
Royals starter Jakob Junis (3-4) cruised through four innings but fell apart in the fifth. After Nick Williams reached on an error with one out, Junis walked three of the next four batters, the last one chasing him from the game.
Realmuto greeted Richard Lovelady with a first-pitch double down the right field line and Herrera hit his two-run single two pitches later. Herrera and Jean Segura each had two hits for the Phillies, and Andrew McCutchen was on base four times via three walks and a single.
Despite allowing just three hits, Junis was tagged for five runs due primarily to five walks. Free passes were an issue all weekend for Royals pitchers, who walked 18 batters during the three-game set.
Alex Gordon brought home the Royals’ only run with an RBI single in the third. After the umpires initially ruled Billy Hamilton was thrown out at third base before Cam Gallagher crossed the plate, a replay review showed Hamilton beat the throw. Hamilton and Gordon had two hits apiece for Kansas City.
Before the game, the Phillies called up Irvin optioned LHP Austin Davis to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Davis had been recalled on Saturday.
Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola (3-0, 4.57 ERA) starts Monday night against Milwaukee in the opener of a seven-game homestand. Nola has given up just one run in each of his last three outings.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (1-1, 3.06 ERA) makes his fourth start of the year Tuesday night against Texas. Duffy held Houston to two runs over six innings in his last outing to earn his first win of the season.