Whit Merrifield went 4-for-4 with three RBIs as the visiting Kansas City Royals opened the second half of the season with a 9-2 defeat of the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night in the first game of a three-game series.
The Royals tied their season high with 15 hits.
Nicky Lopez added two hits and a career-high four RBIs.
Josh Staumont (1-2) earned the win as one of five one-inning relievers for the Royals. He struck out two batters.
Keegan Akin (0-5) took the loss. The Orioles had the highest ERA and the fewest innings pitched and quality starts in the American League prior to the All-Star Break. Akin didn’t help with just three innings. He gave up six runs on eight hits.
Royals starter Danny Duffy pitched well but had to come out after four innings after being hit by a line drive in the first inning. He stayed in the game but appeared to aggravate it covering first on a groundball in the fourth. He allowed one run on two hits in four innings.
The Royals’ two All Stars helped them get to Akin in the first. Merrifield led off with a single up the middle. He went to second on a groundout and scored on a single by Salvador Perez.
The Royals added four more in the second. Jorge Soler walked leading off. Former Oriole Hanser Alberto doubled him to third. With one out, Lopez pulled a single through the drawn-in infield, driving in both runs. Merrifield then doubled in Lopez, and Perez drove in Merrifield again to give the Royals a 5-0 lead.
Akin escaped further trouble when Soler ended the inning with a bases-loaded flyout to the wall.
Merrifield’s sacrifice fly in the third drove home Alberto with KC’s sixth run.
The Orioles got a run in the fourth on an RBI groundout by Trey Mancini.
Lopez then hit a two-out, two-run double in the seventh. He scored on Merrifield’s fourth hit.
Pedro Severino led off the eighth with a solo home run for Baltimore.
–Field Level Media