09/16/08 12:48 AM ET
Davies dandy as KC shuts out Seattle
Righty tosses eight scoreless frames; Teahen goes 3-for-4
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
That could be why Davies pitched his best game for the Royals, a 3-0 victory on Monday night as 17,037 fans and the Mariners watched his impressive work at Kauffman Stadium.
"I need to stop pitching like a 33- or 34-year-old and start pitching like I'm 24 or 25," said Davies. "Being aggressive, attacking guys.
"No I don't throw as hard as Zack [Greinke] or Gil [Meche], but I've got pretty good stuff, so I've got to start pitching like that and kind of going right after guys."
Yeah, never mind that nit-picking and wily approach that older pitchers often employ. Just rear back with the fastball, insert a curveball now and again, and throw strikes.
That's what Davies did for eight shutout innings and he's never been in such command since joining the Royals in midseason during 2007.
Before yielding to closer Joakim Soria, who notched his 38th save with a perfect ninth inning, Davies threw 98 pitches and 66 of them were strikes. He gave up just four singles.
And he struck out eight, matching his career-high, and walked no one.
Manager Trey Hillman was asked which of those numbers he liked best.
"Zero walks," Hillman said.
The same question went to Davies.
"No walks. Without a doubt," he said. "I've struck out eight before, two or three times, but I don't think I've had a no-walk game yet this season. So I'm way more proud of that than my strikeouts."
In fact, Davies has spent most of the season trying to stabilize his command. He wasn't exactly walking the ballpark but he kept falling behind in counts. As his pitch count rose, his effectiveness fell.
This time he was sharp from the start, retiring the first 12 batters he faced. Finally Jose Lopez opened the fifth inning with a single. But Davies got the next three batters. Before he finished, there were two double plays behind him and he faced just 26 batters, only two over the minimum.
"He got everything perfect," catcher Miguel Olivo said. "I'm happy for him, he deserved that win."
This was the Royals' fourth straight victory and they ran up double-digit hits (12) for the fifth straight game. Mark Teahen had three singles and is in an 8-for-19 surge. Jose Guillen popped his 40th double and a single for a 13-game streak (23-for-55, .418). Ryan Shealy had two singles and is 9-for-14 in his last three games.
There was one little slip-up, though, for Shealy.
In the first inning, just after Mike Aviles scored on a wild pitch by Mariners starter Carlos Silva, Teahen rapped a single. Shealy crossed the plate but, alas, did not score. The Mariners claimed he missed third base, appealed and umpire Brian Knight agreed. Shealy was out. No run and no RBI for Teahen.
"I must have apologized to Mark 10 times already," Shealy said. "I'm just glad it didn't come back to haunt us."
Teahen, in the giddy glow of victory, merely smiled.
"My buddy Ryan forgot to touch third. He said he was very close to skimming it," Teahen said. "But I think the umpires got it right, unfortunately."
Shealy was not arguing.
"I think my cleat went right over it," he said. "I definitely didn't feel like I hit it."
So the score remained 1-0. But the Royals finally made it 2-0 in the fourth on three straight singles by Guillen, Shealy and Teahen.
In the seventh, Alex Gordon singled and Alberto Callaspo doubled just inside the right-field line. Gordon, colliding with catcher Kenji Johjima, was thrown out at the plate by Ichiro Suzuki. But David DeJesus' high-hopping single got Tony Pena Jr., running for Callaspo, home for a 3-0 lead.
Plenty the way that Davies was pitching.
"I told Miggy [Olivo] we were going to try to use the curveball a little more and the slider and, if we needed it, the changeup," Davies said. "And he stuck right to the game plan and I don't think I shook him off but maybe one time. It was fastball, get ahead, curveball and then if we needed to put 'em away, another curveball."
This was the first time all season that Davies had pitched eight innings. It was just the fifth time in 19 starts that he went beyond six innings.
"He was lights-out," Teahen said. "He was getting ahead of everybody and using that curveball. It looked good."
Sure did. Eight very solid, very crisp innings.
"I haven't pitched deep in the ballgame hardly at all this year," Davies said, "and this was the satisfaction game."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.