ATLANTA (AP) — Eric Hinske's two-run double broke an eighth-inning tie and Chipper Jones had three RBIs to help the Atlanta Braves win their fifth straight game, 8-5 over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
Melky Cabrera added an RBI single in the eighth off Blake Wood (0-1) for the Braves, who improved to 24-7 at home. Atlanta moved 2½ games ahead of the second-place New York Mets in the NL East.
Craig Kimbrel (2-0) earned the win by pitching a scoreless eighth, but it wasn't easy. The right-hander loaded the bases on two walks and his own fielding error before striking out two and escaping the jam on Billy Butler's popup.
Billy Wagner struck out two in a scoreless ninth for his 14th save in 16 chances.
Jones' RBI double off Kyle Farnsworth in the sixth scored Jason Heyward from second to tie it at 5. Atlanta took a 4-0 lead in the first on two-run doubles by Jones and Omar Infante.
The Royals rallied for a 5-4 lead with RBI singles in the second by Brayan Pena and Chris Getz, and with a three-run third that included Jose Guillen's RBI single, Mitch Maier's run-scoring infield single and Getz's RBI double.
Kenshin Kawakami, the first starting pitcher in Braves history to begin a season by losing nine straight decisions, was chased by Guillen's hit in the third, the last of three consecutive singles to begin the inning.
Kawakami allowed six hits and five runs — four earned — with no walks and one strikeout. It was the shortest of his 39 starts in the major leagues. He also has committed three errors in his last two games.
Cristhian Martinez, who allowed two of his inherited runners to score in the third, pitched the next three innings. Eric O'Flaherty worked the sixth and Peter Moylan the seventh for Atlanta.
Royals starter Kyle Davies walked a career-high seven in 4 1-3 innings. The right-hander gave up four hits and four runs while striking out six. In his last five starts, Davies is 1-2 with a 9.78 ERA.
NOTES: Braves RHP Takashi Saito could come off the 15-day disabled list before Tuesday's road game against the Chicago White Sox. Saito struck one in one inning of a rehab appearance Sunday at Triple-A Gwinnett. ... Royals manager Ned Yost said RHP Gil Meche has "moved out of recovery phase" with a bullpen session. Meche, on the DL with shoulder bursitis, is 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA in nine starts. Kansas City hopes he can return next month.