PITTSBURGH (AP) - Erik Bedard pitched seven solid innings, Neil Walker had three hits and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Kansas City Royals 4-2 on Friday night for their 10th victory in the last 13 games.
Bedard (4-6) allowed two runs and five hits as Pittsburgh captured the opening game of a series for the sixth consecutive time. The Pirates (30-27) also moved three games over .500 for the first time this season.
Jason Grilli worked a perfect eighth and Joel Hanrahan retired the side in order in the ninth for his 16th save in 18 opportunities.
Pittsburgh’s Rod Barajas dives for home plate while trying to avoid a tag from Kansas City catcher Humberto Quintero (33) as he scores from second on Friday.
Yuniesky Betancourt drove in a run and scored for the Royals, who have lost four of six.
Playing its first interleague road game, Kansas City had three players out of position. Regular designated hitter Billy Butler, who leads the team with 11 homers, made his third start at first base. First baseman Eric Hosmer was in right field and Jeff Francoeur moved from right to center.
Francoeur had three prior innings of experience in center, and Hosmer had never played right in the majors. All that shuffling had an effect on the game, too.
Hosmer misplayed Rod Barajas' leadoff single in the second, allowing the lumbering catcher to move up a base. He later scored on Clint Barmes' single, touching home with a nifty slide after left fielder Alex Gordon made a strong throw.
Butler was involved in a Pittsburgh run an inning later, when Luke Hochevar (3-7) picked off Jose Tabata attempting to steal. Butler and second baseman Betancourt got Tabata into a rundown, but lost track of Pedro Alvarez, who scored from third to give Pittsburgh a 4-2 lead.
Garrett Jones doubled in Walker in the first, and Walker's infield hit drove in Barmes to make it 3-0 in the second.
Betancourt hit an RBI double in the third and scored on Mike Moustakas' base hit to get the Royals within one.
Hochevar (3-7) remained winless in his past six outings, allowing four runs and nine hits in six innings.
NOTES: The Royals recalled 1B Clint Robinson to add an extra bench bat for the nine games in NL parks they have over the next 13 days. Robinson made his major league debut, striking out as a pinch hitter to end the game. LHP Ryan Verdugo was optioned to Triple-A Omaha. ... Pirates RHP Jeff Karstens underwent an MRI a day after leaving a rehabilitation start for Triple-A Indianapolis due to tightness in his right groin. Karstens is on the disabled list because of inflammation in his right shoulder. ... Pirates RHP James McDonald (5-2, 2.14) has won five of his past six decisions and ranks second in the NL in ERA heading into Saturday's start. RHP Vin Mazzaro (2-0, 2.25) will start for Kansas City five days after pitching six shutout innings in his most recent outing.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.