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Productive outs galore, Royals salvage series with 3-2 win

A first-inning Giants miscue aides the Royals offense.

Kansas City Royals v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Royals were able to salvage the final game of their series against the Giants with a 3-2 win on Wednesday afternoon. The much-maligned bullpen stepped up to produce five shutout innings, and a big pinch-run double by Andrew Benintendi in the eighth led to the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly by Whit Merrifield.

The Royals jumped on Giants starter Sam Long in the first for a couple of runs. Whit Merrifield led off the game with a bunt single, and Bobby Witt Jr. moved him to third on a double. A routine grounder by MJ Melendez was bobbled by Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, allowing both runners to score and give the Royals a 2-0 lead.

Jonathan Heasley gave the Royals a decent start, but he had to labor over four innings, and left the game in the fifth after 92 pitches. The Giants got to him for a pair of runs in the fourth when Brandon Belt led off the inning with a solo home run. He walked Thairo Estrada, and Brandon Crawford singled to move him to second. Estrada moved to third on a fly ball by Tommy La Stella and scored on another fly ball by Curt Casali to make it 2-2.

But the bullpen came up big this afternoon, with Amir Garrett, Taylor Clarke, Jose Cuas, and Scott Barlow combining for five innings of goose eggs, with only two hits allowed and one walk. The closest the Giants came to a rally was in the seventh when Luis Gonzalez opened the inning with a double off Taylor Clarke. But Jose Cuas, who has quickly asserted himself as one of the more effective arms in the pen, retired the next three hitters to get out of the inning.

That set up the Royals for the eighth, where Andrew Benintendi pinch-hit for Emmanuel Rivera and led off the inning with a double. Nicky Lopez would bunt him over to third, and Whit Merrifield drove him home with a sacrifice fly. It was a productive out aficionado's paradise.

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Royals and brought their record to 21-41. They’ll take a day off tomorrow before going across the bay to begin a three-game series in Oakland Friday night.