One day after Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said his team was playing like it had run out of gas, Ben Broussard hit a three-run homer to help Denney earn his first major league win, 8-3 over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
“The guys did a much better job, no doubt about,” Wedge said after Cleveland avoided getting swept in the three-game sweep and won for just the fifth time in 16 games.
“We’ve had a strong approach all season and got it back today,” Wedge said. “We showed more energy. These players have to work for one another if they are going to win. They did that.”
Shortstop Omar Vizquel thought Wedge’s comments Saturday were effective.
“We showed signs of awakening,” Vizquel said. “For one thing, we got more than three hits.”
Broussard’s 14th homer capped a five-run third inning off Denny Bautista (0-3) as Kansas City failed to sweep a team for the 57th consecutive series— since taking three straight from Texas on Aug. 26-28, 2003.
Denney (1-1) gave up one run and six hits in five innings to rebound from a poor major league debut.
Denney, 10-5 with a 4.41 ERA at Triple-A Buffalo, gave up eight runs and 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings Tuesday against Detroit. A 26th-round draft pick out of Oklahoma University in 1999, he struck out six and walked one against the Royals to lower his ERA from 21.60 to 9.72.
“I felt a lot more comfortable,” the right-hander said. “Just knowing how things are done here made it easier.”
Bautista gave up six runs and eight hits in four-plus innings and is winless with a 12.23 ERA in five starts, including two with Baltimore before being dealt to the Royals for reliever Jason Grimsley on June 21.
“He was pitching behind in the count and when you do that you are going to have problems,” Royals manager Tony Pena said. “I know he’s better than he has shown.”
Matt Stairs opened the second with his 16th homer, hitting a 3-2 pitch into a strong wind and over the wall in right-center.
A good relay throw from second baseman Brandon Phillips later in the inning prevented a run. John Buck hit a two-out single and tried to score on a double into the right-field corner by Ruben Gotay. Phillips took the throw from right fielder Matt Lawton, turned a made a strong throw to catcher Josh Bard, who blocked the plate and made the tag.
“A great throw there, very strong,” Wedge said.
Cleveland went ahead 5-1 in the third on RBI singles by Omar Vizquel and Travis Hafner followed by Broussard’s homer. Gotay’s throwing error allowed a run to score in the fifth, and Lawton hit a run-scoring double off Chris George in the sixth to make it 7-1.
Royals 1B-DH Ken Harvey, hitting .383 vs. Cleveland this season, did not play because of a strained right knee strain. … Vizquel’s single in the third stopped an 0-for-19 slide. … Stairs’ homer was his first since Aug. 5 against the White Sox and gave him 16 RBI in 12 games against Cleveland this season.