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Bats come alive as the Royals hold off the Pirates for a 9-6 win

They had it all the way...

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals’ offense broke through on Wednesday night, as they managed to defeat the Pirates 9-6 — snapping a seven-game losing streak at PNC Park. Their 15 wins matches the 2015 Royals for wins in April.

After collecting just four hits on Tuesday, Kansas City turned on a switch in the top of the first. With two outs and a runner on first, Jorge Soler smashed an 11-pitch double to the opposite field — giving the Royals a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Hunter Dozier rocked a 102 mph triple into the gap in left-center field — scoring two runs.

Cushioned with a 3-0 lead, Mike Minor took the bump for his fifth start of the season. Through the first two innings, the 33-year-old left-hander cruised without allowing a hit. In the top of third, Kansas City’s offense tacked on another run on a bases loaded walk by Michael A. Taylor. Minor battled out of a jam in the bottom half — keeping Pittsburgh scoreless through three innings.

The Royals had a prime opportunity to turn the game into a blowout in the top of the fourth. Salvador Perez drove in his first run of the night on a deep single off the right field wall and Soler followed up with a soft single to make it 6-0. However, with the bases loaded and one out, Dozier smoked a ball to third for an inning ending double play. As it turned out, the play was game-changing.

In the bottom of the fourth, Pittsburgh crawled back into the game. Erik González, who turned the dazzling double play on Dozier, blasted a two-run home run to put the Pirates on the board. On the next at-bat, Lawrence-native Jacob Stallings belted a solo homer that was almost robbed by Taylor. The ball was in Taylor’s glove, but fell out when he collided with the wall. Fortunately, Taylor wasn’t injured on the play.

The game got even closer in the bottom of the fifth. With his pitch count rising, Minor attempted to qualify for the win by getting through the inning. He recorded the first out of the frame, but a throwing error by Nicky Lopez opened the door for Pittsburgh. Minor proceeded to give up a single and an RBI-double to Todd Frazier, which scored two runs. Clinging to a one-run lead, Mike Matheny called on Kyle Zimmer to keep the score as is. Zimmer walked two batters to load the bases, but got Kevin Newman to fly out to end the threat. It was the second time in the game the Pirates couldn’t score with the bases loaded.

After nearly coughing up the lead, Kansas City created some separation in the top of the sixth. For the second time on the night, Soler roped an opposite field double to score a run. A few moments later, Andrew Benintendi, who walked in his previous three at-bats, smacked a double to left to make it a 9-5 game.

Tyler Zuber worked through solid two innings, but allowed a two-out, RBI-single to Phillip Evans in the bottom of the eighth. It was the first run the bullpen has allowed on the current road trip. Josh Staumont replaced Zuber and stayed in for a four-out save. He’s three-for-three in save opportunities this season.

The Royals, 15-8, improve to 5-1 on the nine-game road trip. They’ll have an off-day tomorrow before taking on the Minnesota Twins. Brady Singer will go up against Michael Pineda on Friday night. First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m. CT.