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Royals stay hot with 7-5 win over White Sox

A 3-0 start in a three-game series!

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Second-half team!

The Royals stayed hot by winning for the fifth time in six games after the All Star break, defeating the Chicago White Sox, 7-5.

It was a great night for Jorge Soler, who picked up three more RBIs to get his season total to 67, which is third in the American League. He hit a first-inning RBI single to open the scoring. Nicky Lopez added an RBI single of his own to make it 2-0.

Four more runs were scored in the fifth inning, when the Royals knocked starter Ivan Nova from the game. With the bases loaded and two outs, Hunter Dozier drew a bases loaded walk, Soler knocked in two more on an RBI single, and Lopez plated a fourth with a hit of his own.

More in the eighth inning: Whit Merrifield capped a banner night by smacking an RBI single to make it 7-2. He just continues to absolutely rake. He had tree hits and two walks to raise his season slash to 316/369/511. His slugging percentage is exactly the same as Jorge Soler’s, who has 25 home runs. He’s such a monster. If he’s not top-five in AL MVP voting, the fix is on.

Whit Merrifield is the Royals’ best pure hitter since Mike Sweeney. Change my mind.

Alex Gordon, Lopez and Soler all had two hits. Bubba Starling drew a walk and had a hit in the eighth inning. Meibrys Viloria made a dynamite throw to snag a runner trying to advance to third on a wild pitch. He should get the majority of the starts at catcher; his ceiling is higher than Cam Gallagher’s, and he’s a significant defensive upgrade.

Lucas Duda, shockingly, didn’t do anything. He sucks so, so hard. I can’t believe he’s still on the roster. He’s hitting .146, which is just 12 points higher than Chris Owings’ average at the point of his DFA. Since being called up in June, which literally none of the fanbase wanted, he’s 6 for 50, which is .060. He is hitless in July. Get him out of here.

Danny Duffy pitched well, too. He threw six innings and allowed two runs, which both came in his final inning of work. A two-run homer by Ryan Goins, of all people, snapped Kansas City’s streak of 16 unanswered runs against Chicago. Duffy’s final line: 6.0 innings, six hits, five strikeouts, and two runs. He needed 90 pitches to get his 18 outs.

Scott Barlow and Jake Diekman combined to strike out five batters in the seventh and eighth innings. Wily Peralta gave up a three-run homer in the ninth before Ian Kennedy earned a one-out save. It’s his 15th of the year.

It’s been a fun week to open the second half. The Royals are 35-62. They go for a four-game sweep tomorrow behind Brad Keller. First pitch is at 12:15 pm CDT. The heat index is going to approach 110. Yuck.