After missing all of last season and struggling at the start of this year, Kansas City’s Runelvys Hernandez has finally settled into a groove.
He’ll look to win his fourth straight start when the Royals continue a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in a matchup of the two worst teams in the majors.
Hernandez allowed just one earned run and one hit in seven innings of Sunday’s 7-1 victory over Houston. The 27-year-old right-hander has allowed five earned runs and 19 hits in 25 innings in four starts this month, lowering his ERA from 5.67 to 4.62.
“Elvis was very good. He got stronger as he went along,” manager Buddy Bell said. “His last inning was probably his best.”
Hernandez sat out last season after undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery in September 2003. He went 4-0 with a 1.36 ERA in his first five starts in 2003 and finished 7-5 with a 4.61 ERA. After winning his first start this year, he went 1-7 from April 11-May 29.
“This is like old school, the Runelvys Hernandez of 2003,” he said. “Everything is together. I feel excited about my last four outings. I’m getting better and better, but I’m not as strong yet as before the surgery.”
Hernandez did not allow a hit before recording two outs in the fifth inning Sunday. He matched a season high with six strikeouts and walked three, throwing 92 pitches, including 58 for strikes.
“He did not want to come out of the game, but because of what he’s been through we thought it was the best thing,” Bell said.
The Rockies snapped a five-game losing streak with Friday’s 12-4 win over the Royals.
Preston Wilson drove in three runs and Dustan Mohr homered for Colorado, which was coming off a nine-game road trip where it won just once, scored 22 runs and hit .167 with runners in scoring position.
The Rockies rebounded with 13 hits Friday, scoring eight runs by the fourth inning—one more than the previous three games combined. They also batting around twice to win for just the third time in 16 games.
The Royals stranded eight runners in their fourth straight loss.