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THE RUNDOWN The Rundown: Milwaukee Brewers get out of the box fast

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Saturday, April 12, 2014, at 11:07 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, April 12, 2014, at 11:07 p.m.

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Three up

• Toronto’s José Bautista walked 13 times in the Blue Jays’ first 11 games.

• Opponents were hitting .083 against Indians closer John Axford.

• The Pirates’ Pedro Alvarez had five home runs in his first 35 at-bats.

Three down

• Opposing hitters have batted .341 against Orioles starters this season, heading into Friday.

• Following an opening day sellout, which started the seven-game home stand, the Indians drew crowds of 9,029 and 9,930 in the last two games, against San Diego.

• Padres third baseman Chase Headley had just one RBI in his first eight games.

Statistically speaking

• Texas’ Adrian Beltre needs two homers to join Darrell Evans (Braves, Giants and Tigers), Reggie Jackson (A’s, Yankees and Angels), Alex Rodriguez (Mariners, Rangers and Yankees) and Jim Thome (Indians, White Sox and Phillies) as the only hitters in major-league history to hit at least 100 home runs for three different teams. Beltre hit 147 with the Dodgers, 103 with the Mariners and has 98 with the Rangers.

• White Sox rookie José Abreu is the third player since 1900 to have two multiple home run games in his first 10 career games. The others to do it were Pittsburgh’s Dino Restelli in 1949 and the Royals’ Mark Quinn in 1999.

• The Elias Sports Bureau noted that former Royals starter Ervin Santana (now with Atlanta) started Wednesday’s game with 20 straight strikes — the only player in the last 15 seasons to do that.

You need to know

• The Diamondbacks played four openers at major-league venues (Sydney Cricket Ground, Chase Field, Coors Field and AT&T Park) this season, the most in the bigs, and they lost all of them.

• On Monday, the city of Arlington, Texas, became the 13th metropolis since 1939 to have played host to a World Series and a NCAA basketball championship. The others are Kansas City; Atlanta; Denver; Detroit; Houston; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; New York; Philadelphia; St. Louis; St. Petersburg, Fla.; and San Diego.

Words of wisdom

“I tell you what, man, it didn’t really sink in that I hit my first homer off Beckett until I was sitting in the dugout and I looked at him on the mound. I was like, ‘Yes, I got him.’ It was just a cool feeling watching him mow down the Yankees in the World Series. To get him dead central for a big three-run homer was just storybook.”

| Detroit’s Nick Castellanos, who was a Marlins fan when they won the World Series in 2003, on hitting his first career homer off Josh Beckett

April is a time for surprises, at least in baseball.

Each year a team gets out of the box quickly, defying expectations.

Take the Milwaukee Brewers, who are atop the NL Central, which produced three playoff teams a year ago in St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The Brewers raced to the top thanks in large part to three-game sweeps at Philadelphia and Boston.

“We’re not surprised by our start,” Brewers outfielder Logan Schafer told reporters. “We know how good we are.

“We are so confident in ourselves and our abilities and what we have in the clubhouse, that what other people are saying around the baseball world doesn’t really affect us. We’re playing the game the right way and having fun doing it, and putting ‘W’s’ on the board.”

Milwaukee entered Friday’s games with the best ERA in baseball at 1.95. The Brewers made a splash during the offseason by signing Matt Garza to bolster a rotation that includes Yovani Gallardo — who is unscored upon after two starts — and Kyle Lohse.

Center fielder Carlos Gomez is batting .390 with three home runs, which is tied for the team lead with outfielder Ryan Braun, who last year was suspended 65 games.

“We don’t care what anybody outside thinks, to be honest with you,” Lohse told MLB.com. “We knew coming into camp we were deep in the rotation, we were deep in the lineup. It was time to turn the page on last year.

“We don’t care what anybody thinks. We come here every day and forget about the last one and try to get the job done. It’s a fun group to play with. We try to keep it simple like that.”

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/pgrathoff.

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