Despite being on the brink of their longest winning streak in 13 years, the Atlanta Braves are remaining level-headed.
The Kansas City Royals , meanwhile, are generating some excitement with their solid start.
Atlanta sends Kris Medlen to the mound as it seeks a 10th consecutive victory Tuesday night to begin a two-game set against visiting Kansas City.
The Braves (11-1) are getting it done both at the plate and on the mound, outscoring opponents 62-23 while posting a major league-best 1.82 ERA. They're off to their best start since beginning 13-1 in 1994 after beating Washington 9-0 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep of the defending NL East champions.
Atlanta has swept three straight series for the first time since sweeping four in April 2000, which was part of a 15-game winning streak from April 16-May 2. It hasn't won 10 consecutive games since then."It's early," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I don't think we're going to play .998 baseball the rest of the way, but it sure is better than 1-11."
Though the Braves are averaging 5.2 runs, they're hoping some of their top hitters can find their stroke. B.J. Upton went 3 for 5 with two doubles Sunday but is still hitting just .163, and Jason Heyward is 4 for 39 (.103) with two extra-base hits.
"The best is yet to come, I feel, for the offense," Heyward said. "It's a long season. We're just trying to keep it simple and not try to do too much."
The pitching, though, has been stellar as the starters have given up only six runs over 40 1-3 innings spanning the last six games. That includes last Tuesday when Medlen (1-1, 1.50 ERA) allowed an unearned run and three hits in seven innings of a 3-2 win over Miami.
The right-hander retired the final 10 batters and threw only 24 pitches over his last three innings.
Medlen's only start versus the Royals came when he allowed four runs in 6 1-3 innings as the Braves won 5-4 on a ninth-inning homer June 19, 2010.
Kansas City won in similarly exciting fashion Sunday, as Alex Gordon 's RBI single in the ninth drove in Chris Getz for a 3-2 victory over Toronto. The Royals (7-5) avoided a three-game sweep and have won seven of nine since dropping their first two.
"We had two losses and we said, 'Whatever, let's go out and get a win,'" Gordon said. "Last year was last year and we're playing different now."
Kansas City finished 2012 a disappointing 72-90 and is more than pleased with its 2013 start.
"We went through a pretty nasty skid (last season)," Getz said. "(This season's start) just kind of helps the energy for Kansas City."
Gordon has been a major reason for the early success, hitting .373 after going 2 for 5 to extend his hitting streak to 11.
"You've got to have somebody that's consistent, and Alex is about as good as you can get offensively," manager Ned Yost said.
The Royals also have gotten consistency from Tuesday's starter Jeremy Guthrie (2-0, 3.55), who is 7-0 with a 2.37 ERA over his last 13 starts, of which Kansas City has won 12.
The right-hander allowed four runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 7-4 win over Minnesota in hist most recent outing last Tuesday, He lost his only start versus Atlanta while with Baltimore on July 1, 2011, giving up four runs over seven innings.
|Kansas City Royals|
|March 31, 2013||Danny Duffy||15-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|February 12, 2013||Felipe Paulino||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|April 07, 2013||Cristhian Martinez||15-Day DL||Right shoulder strain|
|April 07, 2013||Freddie Freeman||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|April 06, 2013||Andrelton Simmons||Day-to-Day||Sprained left thumb|
|March 27, 2013||Jonny Venters||15-Day DL||Sprained left elbow|
|March 22, 2013||Brandon Beachy||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Brian McCann||15-Day DL||Recovery from right shoulder surgery|
ATLANTA (AP) -- Justin Upton loves playing for a team with so many sluggers.
Now in his third week with the Atlanta Braves , Upton looks around the clubhouse and sees a solid starting rotation, a dependable bullpen and power - lots and lots of power.
"It's fun when you can do that," Upton said. "But our goal is to go out and play good baseball every night, pitch well, play good defense, put together good at-bats and we've been able to do that so far."
Upton, Jason Heyward and Dan Uggla homered in the eighth inning, and Juan Francisco hit a pair of solo shots earlier in the game to help the Braves win their 10th straight with a 6-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
Atlanta's 10-game winning streak is its longest since the club won 15 straight from April 15-May 2, 2000. The Braves are 12-1 and off to their best start since they began the 1994 season 13-1.
Eric O'Flaherty (3-0) allowed one hit and struck out two in a scoreless eighth for the win in relief.
Heyward's second homer, Upton's eighth and Uggla's third were solo shots off Kelvin Herrera (1-1), who gave up three hits, four runs and one walk in two-thirds of an inning. The Braves have outhomered opponents 25-7 and outscored opponents 68-25 for the best run differential in the majors.
"You know the power is there," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez. "That doesn't surprise you. It's nice to have that type of arsenal in your club because it's a game-changer. One swing of the bat and you can put some runs on the board, so that's always nice."
Heyward hit the go-ahead homer in the eighth with an opposite-field shot into the left-field seats before Upton and Uggla followed to make it 5-2.
After Francisco walked to chase Herrera, Chris Johnson followed with an RBI single off Aaron Crow that scored pinch-runner Jordan Schafer from second.
Luis Avilan recorded the first out of the ninth before seeming to injure his left hamstring. Avilan limped slowly off the field with the help of trainer Jim Lovell and Gonzalez before getting carted off the field.
Closer Craig Kimbrel finished off the Royals by striking out pinch-hitter Billy Butler , giving up an RBI single to Alex Gordon and retiring Alcides Escobar on a groundout. It was a non-save situation for Kimbrel.
The Royals, who have lost three of four, led 2-1 in the fourth when Salvador Perez reached on Francisco's throwing error, moved to second on Mike Moustakas ' single and scored on Jeff Francoeur 's RBI single.
Except for Francisco, who hit his second homer to make it 1-0 in the second and his third to tie it at 2 in the seventh, the Braves were unable to do much against Kansas City starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie .
Atlanta's first five batters were a combined 0 for 14 with one walk and five strikeouts against Guthrie, who gave up five hits, two runs and one walk with six strikeouts in seven innings. Guthrie was trying to win his eighth straight decision dating to last August.
Chris Getz tied it at 1 in the third off Braves starter Kris Medlen . Getz, Kansas City's No. 8 hitter, homered for the first time in nearly four years.
"It's too bad we lost," Getz said. "Too bad (the homer drought) took so long. I saw it on the board while I was hitting, so it definitely added to the satisfaction."
Medlen, who was trying to improve to 17-3 in his career as a starter, allowed six hits and two runs - one earned - with no walks and five strikeouts in seven innings.
"Any time you can do like our pitching staff did and hold us in the game and keep it close and give us a chance to win it late, that fires us up and makes us want to go out and get a good ballgame for them," Upton said. "Kris did a great job tonight and kept them (mostly) off the board and gave us a chance."
Notes: The Braves held a moment of silence before the game for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings Monday. ... Players, managers and coaches for both teams wore No. 42 on their jerseys to honor Jackie Robinson . ... Atlanta committed three errors. ... The Braves homered five times in a game for the first time since winning last June 20 at the New York Yankees . .. Francisco had the first multihomer game of his career. ... Getz last homered on July 19, 2009, when he played for the Chicago White Sox. He went deep off Guthrie, who was pitching for Baltimore. ... Francoeur, a former Braves RF, played his first game at Turner Field with Kansas City. He had an outfield assist and went 2 for 4 with an RBI.