Former Royal Alec Mills, who famously said every time he pitched against the Royals he was going to give it his all to get back at them did not have it today. In result the Royals cruised to a sweep of the Cubs behind leadoff hitters getting on ALL day and Carlos Hernandez dominating on the mound.
Alec Mills worked a quick first inning getting Whit, Nicky and Salvy down in order.
In the bottom of the first, after getting the leadoff to pop out. Former Royal, Frank Schwindel singled to left, then advanced to second on a four pitch walk to Ian Happ. Hernandez beared down and got Patrick Wisdom to strike out swinging. Matt Duffy was up next and on the first pitch hit a hard ground ball that Whit made a spinning throw to get him out and end the inning.
Benintendi led off the second with an infield single. Again, the Royals got on base without a ball leaving the infield when Carlos Santana hit a hard ground ball that Duffy could not field cleanly. With runners on first and second and no one out, the birthday boy Hunter Dozier drove a ball to center scoring Benintendi for the first run of the game. Dozier advanced to second on the throw.
An RBI knock from the birthday boy gives us the early lead!#TogetherRoyal pic.twitter.com/r8RXDXoKHC— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) August 22, 2021
Michael A. Taylor was up next and did not come up clutch, rolling over back to Mills for the first out. Emmanuel Rivera then hit a scorching ground ball to shortstop, Santana clearly going on contact and got into a pickle allowing Dozier to get to third before Santana got out. Carlos Hernandez was up next for his first ever MLB at bat and all that needs to be said is that it looked like his first at bat.
1-2-3 inning for Henandez in the bottom of the second and bottom of the third.
Whit led off the third with a single to left-field. The newly engaged man, Lopez then singled up the middle, advancing Merrifield to third. Salvy struck out swinging, but was picked up by Benintendi who doubled to left-center, scoring both Whit and Nicky. 3-0 Royals.
Benny scoops one into center to plate a pair!#TogetherRoyal pic.twitter.com/MMBGqQzaZJ— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) August 22, 2021
Taylor gave the Royals a lead off guy on for the third straight inning to start the fourth. Taylor then moved to third on the Rivera jam job up the middle. Whit gets an RBI with a sac fly scoring Taylor. Nicky Lopez was up next and he came up clutch scoring Rivera from second making the lead 5-0.
Hernandez’s shutout ended in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a miscommunication in the outfield between Taylor and Dozier leading to a leadoff ground rule double by Ian Happ. Two batters later he would score on a Duffy single. The inning ended thanks to a heads up play by Santana getting an unassisted double-play.
The Royals offense was back at it in the fifth with a single by Benintendi and double by Santana. With runners on second and third and no one out, Dozier hit a ball to the outfield on a very confusing play that ended up being a RBI double scoring Benintendi. Taylor then got an RBI on a sac fly, scoring Santana.
Hernandez continued cruising in the fifth with just allowing a one out walk but leaving him stranded.
Whit led off the fifth with a single making it five innings in a row with the leadoff hitter reaching base. Nicky Lopez then walked and both of them moved up one base on a passed ball. Salvy struck out for the third time today. His teammates picked him up though, scoring the two on base. Whit scored on a sac fly from Benintendi, then Santana lined off the ivy scoring Lopez extending the lead to 9-1.
Frank Schwindel led off the bottom of the 6th with an infield hit off of Hernandez. The big right-hander worked around that single stranding Schwindel at second base.
Just as it had been all day, the first two batters for the Royals in the 7th got on. Back-to-Back singles by Taylor or Rivera. Hernandez struck out again, then Whit hit into a 1-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Hernandez started the 7th with a 1-2 count, but then lost the batter walking him; the third of the day for Hernandez. He left him there getting the next three guys out concluding his career day. His longest career outing and most strikeouts in one game with 8 while just allowing the one run.
A career-high 7.0 IP and 8 Ks!#TogetherRoyal pic.twitter.com/BlflxfYjLA— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) August 22, 2021
Of course, Nicky Lopez led off the 8th inning with a walk; making it 7 innings in a row. Salvy then continued his struggling day with a pop fly. Benintendi struck out, but then Santana stayed hot lining a ball to center, moving Lopez up to second. Dozier ended the threat striking out to Rex Brothers.
Joel Payamps came in for his second outing of the year for the Royals in relief. He continued what Hernandez did with a 1-2-3 inning.
Wade Davis was called to close the door in the ninth, he allowed a lead off single but that was it.