KANSAS CITY -- When Ned Yost pulled Luis Mendoza in the seventh inning of Tuesday night's 2-1 victory over the Brewers, some might have been scratching their heads. Mendoza, after all, had only surrendered his first hit of the game moments earlier, and his pitch count hadn't even reached 75.
But no matter how good Mendoza had been, Yost was placing the game in the hands of perhaps his strongest unit: the Royals bullpen.
The relief corps threw three shutout innings in the win, continuing their recent trend. The bullpen has thrown 13 straight scoreless innings, lowering its overall ERA to 2.84 heading into Wednesday's game against the Brewers. Since May 20, the bullpen ERA is 1.81, the best in the Majors.
"I think we all kind of feed off of each others' success," reliever Greg Holland said. "When you've got two or three guys that are doing the job down there, it's easy for the other guys to join in. And then you've got a whole bullpen that can eat up a lot of innings and throw some zeros up there.
"It's nice being down there and someone else's name getting called and you have complete confidence that they're going to go in and do the job. When you need that extra day or if the matchup situations don't call for you, you have confidence that the other seven or eight guys in there can do it. And we feel that way down there."
Even former ace Zack Greinke -- who made the start for Milwaukee on Tuesday -- said the Royals might boast the best bullpen in baseball, high praise from a fellow pitcher.
As for tight-game situations like Tuesday's, Holland said the relievers all want to pitch in those types of moments.
"We want to be in those situations, and we expect to be at times," Holland said. "Everyone's ready to pitch, and you want to pitch those close games if you're a reliever. So far, we've done a pretty good job at coming in and minimizing damage with runners on and thrown up zeros and given our offense a chance to extend the lead or get back in the game."
Royals option reliever Coleman to Triple-A
KANSAS CITY -- Relief pitcher Louis Coleman was optioned to Triple-A Omaha on Wednesday to make room for Jonathan Sanchez's return from the disabled list
In 16 games for the Royals, the right-handed Coleman posted a 3.15 ERA, striking out 18 batters and walking 12 in 20 innings pitched.
Coleman has appeared in five games for the Storm Chasers so far this year, surrendering three runs in 9 1/3 innings.
Sanchez had been sidelined by left biceps tendinitis since allowing six runs in just three innings against the Red Sox on May 7.
- 142 wins
- 110 wins
Yost has stability in starting rotation
KANSAS CITY -- After months of shakeups caused by injuries and emergency call-ups, Ned Yost said Wednesday that his starting rotation is, for the time being, set.
Wednesday saw the return of Jonathan Sanchez to the rotation, following more than a month on the disabled list with left biceps tendinitis. Yost said that with Sanchez's return, the rotation would now have a more consistent look for the foreseeable future.
Following Sanchez's start, it will be Luke Hochevar in Thursday's series finale against the Brewers. Then Vin Mazzaro, Bruce Chen and Luis Mendoza will pitch the three games in St. Louis against the Cardinals.
The starting staff has been ravaged by injuries this season. In addition to Sanchez, Felipe Paulino is currently spending his second stay of the year on the disabled list with a right groin strain. Danny Duffy will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the remainder of the season. Nate Adcock, Everett Teaford and Will Smith have also made spot starts for the Royals this season.
Second-round pick Selman close to signing
KANSAS CITY -- Second-round Draft pick Sam Selman was in Kansas City on Wednesday to have a physical examination, a Royals club official confirmed, and his signing appears imminent.
Selman, a left-handed pitcher out of Vanderbilt, is the teams' last remaining top-10 pick that has yet to sign.
In 17 games with the Commodores this season, Selman went 9-3 with a 3.55 ERA. He struck out 80 batters and walked 43 over 76 innings pitched.
Additionally on Wednesday, the Royals announced the signing of their fourth-round pick, Stanford shortstop Kenny Diekroeger. Diekroeger was drafted in the second round of the 2009 Draft by Tampa Bay, but he passed on a contract to play for the Cardinal.
Royals prospect Daniel Mateo was named to the Midwest League All-Star team on Wednesday. Mateo, an infielder with Low-A Kane County, is batting .305 on the season with four home runs and 33 RBIs.
While most of the focus on Tuesday was on Greinke's first start at Kauffman Stadium since being traded to Milwaukee, there was another first at The K for a Brewers pitcher. Reliever Francisco Rodriguez allowed his first run in Kansas City after 12 2/3 scoreless innings. The run counted as the game-winner, saddling Rodriguez with the loss.
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.