Whit Merrifield had two hits — including a three-run home run — in a nine-run first inning as the Royals rolled to a 14-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night in Kansas City.
The Royals sent 14 to the plate in the first inning.
Merrifield is the first player to have two hits, a home run and a stolen base in the first inning since Oakland’s Rickey Henderson in 1980.
The Royals have won five straight, including the first two games of the four-game series against the Twins.
Brad Keller (6-4) was the beneficiary of the explosion. He allowed two runs on seven hits in five innings. He struck out five and didn’t walk any.
Matt Shoemaker (2-7) took the loss with nine runs allowed (eight earned) in 1/3 of an inning. He is 0-6 with a 13.20 ERA in his career against the Royals in eight starts.
The Royals scored in the first inning for the fifth straight game. Merrifield led off with a single and stole second. Carlos Santana walked before Andrew Benintendi hit one off the top of the wall in center for an RBI double. Salvador Perez then lined a single into right center, scoring two more. Perez has RBIs in a career-high seven straight games.
After Hunter Dozier walked and Jorge Soler reached on catcher’s interference, Michael A. Taylor ripped a two-run single into left. Nicky Lopez followed with an RBI single before Merrifield recorded his second hit of the inning, a three-run home run, sending Shoemaker to the showers.
The Royals added four more in the second. Taylor, Santana (two) and Benintendi added RBIs. The 13 runs in the first two innings established a record for the Royals.
The Twins got a run in the third on a fielder’s choice by Alex Kirilloff. Jorge Polanco homered leading off the fifth for Minnesota. Jarrod Dyson’s infield hit drove in KC’s 14th run in the seventh.
Miguel Sano snapped an 0-for-24 skid with a two-run homer in the eighth, followed by Nick Gordon’s first MLB home run.
–Field Level Media