Arraez singles twice to raise average to .401; Marlins beat Royals
MIAMI (AP) — Luis Arraez had two hits to raise his major league-leading batting average to .401 and help the Miami Marlins beat the Kansas City Royals 6-1 on Tuesday night.
Second in the NL East, the Marlins have won five straight to improve to 34-28 — the first time they’ve been six games over .500 since August 2016.
After Arraez flew out to left in his first two at-bats, he hit consecutive singles to finish 2 for 4 with an RBI. Jesús Sánchez homered and Bryan De La Cruz drove in three runs.
“It is an honor when I see that number on the scoreboard but as I’ve said before it is not impossible,” Arraez said in Spanish. “Things are going well for me and we are also winning, which is what is most important.”
Marlins starter Jesús Luzardo threw seven innings of one-run ball. Luzardo (5-4) scattered two hits and struck out eight, matching his longest outing of the season. Tanner Scott and Bryan Hoeing followed Luzardo, each throwing an inning to complete the five-hitter.
“Today was a step in the right direction for something me and (catcher) Nick (Fortes) have been working on, which is just mixing it up with everything I’ve got,” Luzardo said. “Hopefully, we keep doing that and taking steps forward.”
Luzardo was pulled after 86 pitches and a perfected seventh.
“We have an idea of the amount of innings Jesús has thrown in his career,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “He’s going to be on pace for a career high and we want to monitor it, throwing the extra inning when it’s needed. We felt we had really good matchups at the end with the bullpen to give guys an inning.”
Miami broke open a scoreless game with a five-run fifth against Zack Greinke (1-6).
The former Cy Young Award winner kept Miami hitless until Sánchez’s leadoff blast. Sánchez drove the first pitch breaking ball from Greinke over the wall in left for his fifth homer.
“All of his pitches move,” Sánchez said about facing Greinke. “Although he doesn’t have the stuff, I always look for the fastball. He threw me the curveball and I adjusted because I have the ability to hit the curveball, too.”
Arraez’s one-out single with the bases loaded made it 2-0 and ended Greinke’s outing. Reliever Jackson Kowar retired Jorge Soler on a pop out to second before De La Cruz cleared the bases with a double to right.
The 39-year-old Greinke gave up five runs, four hits and struck out three. He was unbeaten in seven career decisions against Miami.
“Really, he didn’t throw the ball any differently that inning,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “Maybe one of those pitches may have been left over the middle of the plate. They got a little more aggressive that inning and put a couple of good swings on it.”
Nick Pratto doubled off Luzardo in the seventh, advanced on a ground out and raced home after a wild pitch for Kansas City’s run.
The Marlins are 12-2 against the American League this season. They began the season with a major league-worst 103-148 record in interleague play.
The Marlins activated LHP A.J. Puk from the injured list and optioned RHP George Soriano to Triple-A Jacksonville.
Marlins: RHP Johnny Cueto (right biceps tightness) threw a batting practice session Tuesday at the club’s spring training complex in Jupiter, Florida.
Royals RHP Jordan Lyles (0-9, 6.89) will start the final game of the series Wednesday against RHP Edward Cabrera (4-4, 4.05).
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