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Young guns shine as Royals sweep Tigers in doubleheader

I want to believe. I want to believe.

Detroit Tigers v Kansas City Royals - Game Two Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Kansas City Royals remained hot on Monday as they swept the Tigers in a day/night doubleheader. It’s the first time they’ve swept a doubleheader in 2022.

In Game 1, it was the Brad Keller show in a 3-1 victory. After dominating Detroit on the road in his previous meeting against the Tigers, the right-hander didn’t miss a beat. Against nearly the same lineup, Keller cruised through the first four innings and allowed just one hit.

In the bottom of the fourth, Kansas City provided the 26-year-old with some much needed run support. Vinnie Pasquantino, who’d struggled early in his big league career, belted a solo shot into the right field bullpen off Michael Pineda. Pineda was also the pitcher he collected his first career home run off of on July 1st at Comerica Park.

The lone run Keller allowed came in the top of the sixth on a flukey at-bat. With a runner at third and one out, Keller struck out Miguel Cabrera on a slider. However, the ball skipped off the dirt and by Cam Gallagher — allowing the run to come in from third. Fortunately it didn’t take the Royals long to reclaim the lead.

Less than 15 minutes later, Kansas City jumped back into the scoring column. Pasquantino continued his strong afternoon with another RBI-single to left to break the tie.

Soon after, the Royals benefited off the shoddy fielding of Javier Báez. On a routine grounder, Báez fielded it cleanly but short-armed the throw to first — bringing home Kansas City’s third run to make it 3-1. With the slim lead, Keller battled through seven complete innings and struck out a season-high eight hitters.

The bullpen, following its impressive showing on Sunday, held it down over the final two innings. Taylor Clarke and Scott Barlow combined for the final six outs and secured the win in the Monday matinee.

In Game 2, the Royals’ offense was jumpstarted by the young guns and hung on to win 7-3. With a Kansas City lineup featuring three rookies in the top three spots for the first time since 1999 (Melendez, Witt Jr, Pasquantino), the offense surged. Thanks to Witt Jr, it took two batters in the bottom of the first to erase a 1-0 deficit against Alex Faedo.

In the ensuing inning, Witt Jr came through again on an RBI-single up the middle to give the Royals a 2-1 advantage. Faedo, whose command was all over the place, failed to survive the second inning. Kansas City managed to tack on two more on a single from RIGHT FIELDER Ryan O’Hearn.

Back on the mound for the Royals, Daniel Lynch grinded through his first start since returning from the injured list. Up until the fifth inning, the left-hander had allowed just one unearned run. However, following a pair of runs in the top half of the fifth, Lynch was pulled with an apparent injury.

Angel Zerpa made his season debut and worked two scoreless innings out of the bullpen and allowed just one hit. Dylan Coleman and Barlow worked the final two innings, which capped off a strong day for the Kansas City arms. The pitching staff allowed just four runs over 18 innings (2.00 ERA) and its three rookies were 11-for-19 with six RBIs at the dish.

The Royals, 34-52, are winners of three-straight and have won four of its last five. They’ll go for back-to-back series wins at home for the first time this season tomorrow night. Kris Bubic and Beau Brieske will square off at 7:10 p.m. CT.