MILWAUKEE — Jacob Nottingham hit a grand slam and Orlando Arcia added a three-run shot as the Milwaukee Brewers rallied from an early four-run deficit and beat the Kansas City Royals 9-5 on Friday night.
Nottingham’s two-out blast to left off Danny Duffy (3-4) capped a six-run rally in the fourth inning that put the Brewers ahead for good. The comeback had begun when Christian Yelich led off the fourth with his 150th career homer.
“You're just trying to fight right there,” Nottingham said. “There's two outs, so you're just trying to get anybody across the board just to get something going. To be able to barrel that ball up and have it go over was awesome.”
Kansas City's Salvador Perez went 4 of 5 with a homer, double, two runs and four RBIs.
Drew Rasmussen (1-0) pitched one inning of scoreless relief to earn the win. Six Brewers relievers combined to pitch five innings and allow only one run.
Friday’s game started the Brewers’ final home series before they close the regular season with three games at Cincinnati and five at St. Louis. The Brewers (24-26) are chasing the Reds (26-26) and Cardinals (24-24) for second place in the National League Central behind the Chicago Cubs (31-20).
The top two teams in each division earn automatic playoff berths this season.
Kansas City took an early lead off Brewers starter Adrian Houser as the first three batters of the game all scored.
After Whit Merrifield singled and Adalberto Mondesi walked to open the game, Perez doubled them home. A one-out single by Hunter Dozier put runners on the corners.
When Dozier stole second, Nottingham’s throw bounced into center field, allowing Perez to score from third.
The Royals made it 4-0 when Perez singled home Mondesi in the third.
Then it all fell apart in the fourth.
After giving up Yelich’s leadoff homer, Duffy allowed the Brewers’ next three batters to reach as Ryan Braun singled, Jedd Gyorko walked and Keston Hiura singled to load the bases.
Duffy issued a one-out walk to Arcia that cut the lead to 4-2, but seemed on the verge of getting out of the inning after striking out Luis Urias. That’s when Nottingham delivered the Brewers’ first grand slam of the season.
“That fourth inning can’t happen, and unfortunately it’s happened like four times this year,” Duffy said. “Just big innings continuing to bite. The way it went down, I put our bullpen in a bad spot. I wish I would have executed better. It wasn’t my night tonight.”
The Brewers extended the lead to 9-4 when Arcia homered to left center off Royals reliever Jake Newberry with two outs in the fifth.
“That two-out hit with men on base is enormous," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “That's a scenario it's felt like we'e been in quite a bit this year and that we haven't necessarily succeeded in frequently, but tonight we did.”
Perez homered in the ninth off Josh Hader to complete the scoring.
Neither starter was effective.
Houser gave up four runs — two earned — and five hits and two walks with two strikeouts in four innings. Duffy struck out five but yielded six earned runs, seven hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings.
Duffy was pitching for the first time since getting scratched from a scheduled start Tuesday after missing the Royals’ team flight to Detroit.
He said after Friday's game that his car hit a pothole, blowing out his right tires on his way to the airport.
“I addressed my team,” Duffy said. “Every single one of them came up to me after and were like, ‘Dude we got you, we’ll pick you up.’ It’s something that’ll never happen again. ... It’s not what leaders do.”
ROYALS: Kansas City manager Mike Matheny says there’s a possibility outfielder/designated hitter Jorge Soler could play again this season. Soler hasn’t played since Sept. 5 and has been dealing with a strained right oblique.
“He’s at the secondary site getting work,” Matheny said before the game. “We’re just waiting to hear how today went, get a review of how he feels.”
BREWERS: Braun left the game with lower back tightness after hitting a single in the fourth inning. Braun has been dealing with a back issue all season.
Counsell said Braun's back started to tighten up close to the start of the game.
“It was getting progressively worse, so we got him out of there,” Counsell said. “But he helped us win the game, I feel like. We'll see how he is tomorrow.”
BREWERS COMPLETE TRADE
The Brewers acquired pitchers Brandon Ramey, Juan Geraldo and Israel Puello as part of the Aug. 31 trade that sent reliever David Phelps to the Philadelphia Phillies. When the trade was originally announced, the Phillies had received Phelps for three players to be named later.
Milwaukee also released pitcher Jake Faria.
The Royals and Brewers continue their three-game series Saturday at Milwaukee. Kris Bubic (1-5, 4.50) starts for Kansas City, and Corbin Burnes (3-0, 1.98) pitches for Milwaukee.