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Offense fuels Royals in 7-3 series-opening win over Pirates

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The month started brutally, but ended with a hot streak

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Kansas City Royals Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Entering tonight’s game, the Royals had scored more than five runs in a game just eight times in May. In April, they did it just eight times, despite going 15-9. They have nearly halved those totals in less than a week, scoring five or more runs in their last four games, this time in a 7-3 win over the Pirates.

The win closed out a brutal 11-17 month that included an 11-game losing streak but ended with wins in eight of their last 12 games. It also brought Kansas City back to .500, marking just the third time since 2010 that the Royals have entered June at .500 or better.

Pittsburgh jumped on Royals starter Mike Minor quickly, with Adam Frazier leading off the game with a double. He went to third on a sac fly and with the infield in, scored on a groundball that Carlos Santana couldn’t get out of his glove quick enough, putting the Pirates up 1-0.

The Royals responded with a run of their own, thanks to a leadoff double from Whit Merrifield and a two-out RBI single from Salvador Perez to tie the game. Hunter Dozier doubled in a run the next inning and scored on a Kelvin Gutierrez single to put the Royals up 3-1.

They added two more on a huge two-out homer from Adalberto Mondesi after Pittsburgh got a run back, making it a 5-2 game. And it was an absolute tank.

After stalling a bit in Tampa, it appears that the Royals offense has heated back up, scoring at least five runs in four straight games, including tonight. The return of Mondesi has been a huge shot in the arm, giving the Royals five extra-base hits in his first eight games back.

Meanwhile, Minor built off his last strong start. He held the Pirates to two runs in his six innings of work, allowing just six baserunners and striking out seven batters.

The Royals bullpen held strong, despite Tyler Zuber giving up a solo homer in the 8th to bring the Pirates to within two runs. Kansas City got two runs right back in the 8th, capped by a Michael A. Taylor double, confirming a 7-3 final score.

The win brings the Royals back to .500 with a chance to get above .500 for the first time since May 7. They are also just 2.5 games back of the 2nd wild card spot. Here’s a little extra Mondi content before we call it a night.

Update:

Mondesi was replaced by Nicky Lopez in the 8th. Manager Mike Matheny confirmed that it was a tweak to his hamstring, as reported by Alec Lewis.

Up Next: Royals v. Pirates, Tuesday, June 1, 2021, 7:10 PM CDT, Kauffman Stadium. RHP Wil Crowe (0-3, 5.67 ERA) v. RHP Brady Singer (2-4, 4.91 ERA)