Reds Royals Baseball

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Brad Keller throws during the first inning of game one of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday in Kansas City, Missouri.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Brad Keller pitched hitless ball into the sixth inning and extended his shutout streak, leading the Kansas City Royals over the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 Wednesday in the first game of a doubleheader

Keller (3-0) has won all of this starts this season after coming back from a positive test for COVID-19 and hasn’t permitted a run in 17 2/3 innings.

Pitching in seven-inning game, Keller held the Reds without a hit until Tucker Barnhart looped a single into center field to begin the sixth.

“He was special,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “I think he got into a rhythm where his breaking ball was just as good as his fastball was. He had his fastball going to both sides of the plate. He had it cutting at times and had good sink when he needed it.

“He wasn’t afraid to go to the changeup. He got a strikeout with it. He keeps building his confidence with all his different pitches, instead of just trying to overpower guys.”

Cincinnati played for the first time since Friday night. The Reds had home games against Pittsburgh called off Saturday and Sunday after a player tested positive for the coronavirus, and the series opener at Kauffman Stadium was postponed Tuesday night while Major League Baseball did additional testing.

Keller gave up three hits, struck out five and walked Jesse Winker three times — his only walks in 6 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old righty exited with two on and Trevor Rosenthal retired the only batter he faced for his sixth save.

“Honestly my slider was pretty good today,” Keller said. “I was able to locate it on the back door to a lot of lefties. Their whole lineup was all lefties. To have that pitch and steal some strikes and get some swings, that was huge.”

Keller missed the start of the regular season as he built up strength after his positive virus test during summer training. But once he was activated, he has been nearly flawless. He pitched five scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs in his first start, followed by six shutout innings at Cincinnati in his last outing.

Luis Castillo (0-3) allowed three earned runs in 3 1/3 innings, striking out five.

The Royals scored three times in the first after leadoff man Whit Merrifield reached on first baseman Joey Votto’s error. Jorge Soler hit an RBI double and Ryan O’Hearn snapped an 0-for-10 slump with a two-run single.

Game 2

Trevor Bauer pitched seven innings of one-hit ball, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Kansas City Royals 5-0 on Wednesday night to split a doubleheader marked by strong starting pitching.

Bauer allowed only a single by Adalberto Mondesi in the fifth inning. He walked three and struck out nine, lowering his ERA to 0.68. He has allowed two runs on eight hits in 26 1/3 innings this season.

After Brett Phillips lined out to right to end the game, Bauer unbuttoned his jersey to reveal a T-shirt depicting him amid a low point in his career, a meltdown during his previous visit to Kauffman Stadium last July. Bauer threw the ball over the center field wall as Cleveland manager Terry Francona approached the mound to remove him from his start

In his first major league start in more than a year, Matt Harvey (0-1) threw 54 pitches in three innings and allowed two homers, both in the third. He gave up three runs on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts.