It was a track meet on Friday night, as the Royals beat the Twins, 11-6, at Kauffman Stadium.
Straight out of the chute, the Royals hit the ground running, as the first four men to come to the plate reach. Whit Merrifield, who had three hits, singled. Nicky Lopez singled. Salvador Perez got hit by a pitch. A wild pitch scored Merrifield. Andrew Benintendi walked. The next three men made outs, but Carlos Santana’s groundout scored a second run. 2-0.
In the third, four more hits for the Royals occurred, with base knocks from Hunter Dozier and Bert Mondesi doubling the lead to 4-0. Minnesota got a run back in the fourth, but the Royals one-upped it on an Andrew Benintendi two-run double in the home half. 6-1.
Hunter Dozier homered in the fifth. Cam Gallagher singled home Mondesi. 8-1. Minnesota got three in the sixth, but so did the Royals. Michael A. Taylor, Gallagher, and Merrifield hit three consecutive RBI singles to bring Kansas City to 11 runs. To close the scoring, the Twins got two runs on a throwing error. 11-6, final.
There’s plenty to unpack here. Merrifield had three more hits, bringing him to 183 on the season. He’s fourth in baseball. Hunter Dozier’s end-of-season surge continued, as he went 3-for-5 with a homer. He’s up to .218 and 16 home runs. Rex Hudler actually said “he could get his average all the way to .220!” with jubilation, which... I kind of get considering where he was at during the All Star Break. He’s had a good second half and a really good last few weeks. Benintendi, Mondesi, and Gallagher all had multiple hits. The Royals, as a squad, had 15 hits.
I’m not sure what next year will look like, but here’s something you’ve heard plenty of times over the last decade as Royals fans: if they can just start next year like they’re ending this year... they’ll have a chance!
The only Royal that didn’t register a hit was... Salvador Perez. He has two more games to hit home run No. 49.
Pitching: Jon Heasley enjoyed a lot of run support and rode it to the first victory of his career. He pitched 5.1 innings, allowing four runs, and looking solid in the process. None of the prominent bullpen pieces did anything of note to close out the night.
The Royals are 74-86. Two games remain. Tomorrow is Fan Appreciation Night at 6:10 pm.
This is my final recap of the season. Per usual, it’s been a pleasure writing for all of you this season. Next year, when it’s time to start up again, we’re going to be talking about a team that has a legitimate chance at a playoff berth. Until then, have a good winter. Stay out of trouble. And stay healthy! I’m looking at you, Bert!