"We talked about that in the dugout. He's got to give it up a little sooner," Gonzalez said. "That's something you've got to learn up here in the big leagues, the speed of the game. It was a learning moment for him."
That turned out to be a crucial play. With two outs, Lorenzo Cain hit a little dribbler down the third-base line for an infield hit, then Francoeur came through on an 0-2 pitch, singling to left field when Minor left a change-up in the strike zone against a free-swinging batter who is prone to chase bad pitches.
Francoeur, who grew up in the Atlanta area and started his career with the Braves, relished the chance to beat his former team.
"It means a little bit more personally," he said. "You want to say you're focused all the time, but there's definitely some extra motivation coming home here for me."
In the seventh, Atlanta put together its best scoring chance against Davis. Francisco, who homered twice against the Royals on Tuesday, singled to right with two outs for his second hit of the game. Then, Chris Johnson lofted a popup that down the right-field line that landed about a foot fair, just out of the grasp of diving second baseman Chris Getz.
But Getz hustled to his feet, tracked down the ball alongside the rolled-up tarp, and alertly spotted Francisco trying to score all the way from first. The throw to the plate was in plenty of time to get the lumbering runner.
Escobar had an error in the first, throwing high after fielding a grounder by leadoff hitter B.J. Upton, but the Royals shortstop came up with a couple of nifty defensive plays — one a barehanded grab on a grounder in the hole, another a diving stop on a wickedly hit ball by Chris Johnson to set up a double play.
NOTES: Francoeur and Royals manager Ned Yost, who also has ties to Atlanta, will stay a little longer and travel separately to join the team in Boston. Kansas City is off Thursday before beginning a weekend series against the Red Sox. It will be Sox's first home game since the three people were killed and hundreds injured in the Boston Marathon bombing. ... The Braves got an encouraging report on LHP Luis Avilan, who collapsed on the mound while pitching in the ninth inning Tuesday. The apparent injury to his left hamstring turned out to be a serious cramp. Avilan said "it's way better now" and he's hoping to avoid the DL. The left-hander believes he can pitch again after a couple of days off. The Braves already have two relievers on the DL: Jonny Venters and Cristhian Martinez. ... Julio Teheran (0-0) will pitch for the Braves in the opener of a four-game series in Pittsburgh on Thursday. Jeff Locke (1-1) goes for the Pirates.
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