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Sep 29, 12:32 AM EDT

Royals offense can't support pitching in 1-0 loss to Cubs

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CHICAGO (AP) -- Yordano Ventura has been nearly unbeatable over the past two months. But even what may have been his best outing of the season wasn't enough for the Kansas City Royals on Monday night.

Chris Denorfia hit a pinch-hit home run leading off the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Chicago Cubs a 1-0 victory over Royals.

Denorfia hit the first pitch from reliever Miguel Almonte (0-2) into the left-field bleachers for the Cubs' major league-leading 13th walk-off victory of the season. It was Denorfia's third homer of the season.

For Ventura, who allowed only two hits in seven scoreless innings, the finish was tough to digest even though he didn't factor into the decision. In 12 starts since July 26, Ventura has gone 8-1 with 74 strikeouts. Yet, after allowing only the two hits and striking out six while walking one, another impressive outing by Ventura couldn't make up for the Royals lack of offense.

"Its just one of those days where one run was going to determine the game," Ventura said through an translator.

Kansas City relievers Kelvin Herrera, Luke Hochevar and Ryan Madson picked up were Ventura left off, keeping the Cubs off the board until Denorfia homered off of Almonte on the first pitch he saw.

"These games are fun," Denorfia said. "You never quite know what's going to happen. You've got to be ready when your name is called."

Ventura was perfect through the first five innings, although Kris Bryant hit a drive to straight away center field in the first inning that Lorenzo Cain caught against the ivy reaching up.

The Cubs finally broke through when Jorge Soler led off the sixth with a base hit to center field. Ventura, though, retired the next three batters to end the inning.

The first two Chicago batters reached in the seventh - on a walk and an infield single, but Ventura got Tommy LaStella to ground into a double play and struck out Starlin Castro to end the threat.

"In that situation, you're trying to throw one pitch to get two outs," Ventura said.

Fernando Rodney (2-0) pitched a scoreless top of the 11th to get the win.

The homer ended a pitcher's duel that was a makeup of a May 30 rainout. Both teams combined for eight hits.

Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks allowed just two hits in six scoreless innings. He walked two and tied a career high with nine strikeouts. He was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the sixth after throwing 90 pitches.

The Royals put only one runner in scoring position when Mike Moustakas doubled in the fourth inning. But from that point on, Hendricks and the Cubs bullpen shut the Royals down.

"Both teams were stymied offensively by great pitching," Royals manager Ned Yost said.


Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. is set to be on hand Tuesday when the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation opens a multipurpose synthetic turf field on the southwest side of Chicago. The Freedom Field at Marquette Park project, in partnership with Cubs Charities and others, is designed to give inner-city youth a safe place to play and learn. The state-of-the-art facility features a baseball diamond with dugouts and batting cages. This will be the 50th field the Ripken foundation, dedicated to the father of the Orioles great, has built in 16 states in five years.

"When we first started the foundation in memory of Dad, we never imagined it would grow the way it has," Ripken said.


Royals: RHP Chris Young is expected to rejoin the team by Friday following the death of his father on Saturday. Young threw five innings of no-hit ball on Sunday to get the win against Cleveland.

Cubs: 1B Anthony Rizzo, who had played in 154 of the team's 155 games before Monday, was given the night off. Manager Joe Maddon said he saw Rizzo laboring and looking fatigued on Sunday.


Royals: They are staying in Chicago and will open a three-game series with the White Sox on Tuesday. RHP Johnny Cueto (10-12, 3.45 ERA) goes in the opener against Chicago RHP Jeff Samardzija (10-13, 5.04).

Cubs: They head out for a six-game road trip to conclude the regular-season schedule. RHP Dan Haren (9-9, 3.83 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series at Cincinnati on Tuesday against Reds RHP Josh Smith (0-2, 7.23).

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