After all the years of the Twins terrorizing the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, that first inning felt pretty good.
The Royals put up a nine-spot in the first inning and never looked back, running away from the Minnesota Twins, 14-5. It was over in a matter of moments, and that’s a wonderful thing when it’s in this context.
The nine-run first: Whit Merrifield singled, Carlos Santana walked, Andrew Benintendi RBI doubled (1-0), Salvador Perez RBI singled (3-0), Hunter Dozier walked, Kelvin Gutierrez K’d, Jorge Soler reached on catcher’s interference, Michael Taylor RBI singled (5-0), Nicky Lopez RBI singled (6-0), Whit Merrifield three-run homer (9-0). Whew.
Merrifield was halfway to the cycle with one out in the first inning.
Needless to say, it was a quick night for Minnesota starter Matt Shoemaker. He got just one out on the night, giving up six hits and nine runs, plus two walks, in 0.1 innings. He threw 38 pitches against the 10 batters he faced. His game score was 4. It was ugly. It was awesome.
The Royals added four more runs in the second, as Taylor, Santana (two), and Benintendi picked up RBIs to make the score 13-0. The Twins picked up a few runs here and there in mop-up time, and the Royals added a 14th run on a Jarrod Dyson infield single in the seventh. 14-5.
Dyson also made an awesome, leaping catch to get the 27th and final out. He leapt into the fence and took a double away from Minnesota’s Alex Kirkilloff.
Thanks to being handed a mountain of run support, Royals starter Brad Keller breezed through the evening with no pressure. He pitched five innings, surrendering two runs and scattering seven hits. He K’d five and earned the win, moving him to a team-best 6-4. His ERA continues to drop, as it’s now down to 5.50.
That’s five wins in a row for the Royals, who are 13-6 since ending their 11-game losing streak. They’ve won 9 of their last 12. They’re now 29-26 on the season. It’s quite an impressive turnaround after the season looked like it was crashing to the ground.
The only thing bad about this game was having to hear Steve Physioc for 3.5 hours!
Tomorrow: Kansas City goes for the series at 3:10 pm, as Mike Minor will duel with Jose Berrios on Whit Merrifield bobblehead day. The Royals are 6-2 with two games left in their 10-game sequence against Minnesota and Pittsburgh. It was a stretch where they needed to rack up some wins in, and they’ve done a great job of that thus far.