Royals Week in Review: First Taste of AL Central Rivals

Royals Week in Review: First Taste of AL Central Rivals

by April 12, 2021 1 comment

After starting the season with a series win over the Texas Rangers, the Kansas City Royals hit the road to take on two American League Central rivals; the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox.

The Royals started the week with a two-game set against Cleveland and capped off the week with a three-game series in Chicago. Let’s take a look at how Kansas City fared.

Monday: Royals 3, Indians 0

The Royals’ offense led the way in the series win over Texas, scoring 25 runs in the first two games. On the flip side, the starting pitching struggled. Only one starter went into the sixth inning and all three combined to allow 16 runs.

Cleveland has one of the league’s best pitching staffs each season and Kansas City needed a quality start. Danny Duffy delivered and gave the Royals their first quality start of the season. Duffy threw six scoreless innings, striking out five and allowing only two hits.

Against the Rangers, the Royals completed two comeback victories and didn’t score first in any game. However, that was not the case in this one. Whit Merrifield gave the Royals an early lead with a two-run home run in the second inning. It was his third homer of the season.

Later, in the seventh inning, Merrifield drove in his third run of the day with a sacrifice fly. The Royals bullpen finished the job with three scoreless innings, clinching a 3-0 victory. Duffy got the win and Jesse Hahn recorded his first save of the year.

Wednesday: Cleveland 4, Royals 2

After a day off on Tuesday, Kansas City was back in action in Cleveland. On the mound, it was Jakob Junis filling in as the fifth starter. Junis followed up Duffy’s performance with five scoreless innings of his own. He struck out five Cleveland hitters and surrendered only one hit.

For the second consecutive game, the Royals struck first on the scoreboard with the second Salvy Smash of the year. Salvador Perez crushed one over the centerfield wall as KC gained a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning.

After five dominant innings from Junis, Hahn came in for the sixth inning. With two outs in the inning, three-time MVP finalist, Jose Ramirez, gave the Indians a 2-1 lead with a two-run shot to right field. The Royals responded in the seventh inning with a game-tying single from Nicky Lopez.

However, the Indians star third baseman struck again with his second homer of the day in the eighth inning. With one swing of the bat, Cleveland regained the lead and took a 4-2 lead. Nick Wittgren came in and closed it out in the ninth to give the Indians the win.

Thursday: White Sox 6, Royals 0

After splitting the two-game series with Cleveland, Kansas City traveled to take on the division favorite, Chicago White Sox. For the first time this season, the Royals were shut out with a dominant performance from Lance Lynn.

Chicago traded for Lynn this offseason from the Rangers and he completely shut down the KC lineup. He threw his second complete-game shutout in his career, striking out 11 and walking zero hitters.

For the Royals, Brad Keller took the mound and struggled right out the gate. In the bottom of the first, Yoan Moncada got it started with a two-run homer. In the next at-bat, Yermin Mercedes hit a 485-foot moonshot over the left-field wall. With one out in the first, the White Sox hit back-to-back dingers, gaining a 3-0 lead. Chicago extended their lead in the second inning with a sacrifice fly from Luis Robert.

Keller was pulled after three and 1/3 innings, allowing four runs off six hits. The Royals trailed 4-0 at the time. The White Sox capped it off with a two-run single in the sixth inning from Adam Eaton, extending their lead to 6-0. The game would end with a dominating win from Chicago.

Sunday: Royals 4, White Sox 3

On Friday, both teams had the day off and looked ahead to battle on Saturday. However, mother nature had different plans that resulted in a postponement. Saturday’s tilt will be played as a doubleheader on May 14th.

With the postponement on Saturday,  the second game on Sunday concluded the series. For the Royals, Mike Minor got the start, and Dylan Cease was on the bump for Chicago.

Through the first three and a half innings, it was a pitcher’s duel as both teams combined for only three hits. The White Sox got on the board first with an RBI-double from Leury Garcia. Kansas City responded in the top half of the fifth with an RBI single from Merrifield, tying the game.

Minor went four innings on Sunday, allowing one run off four hits and struck out three batters. After the Merrifield single in the fifth, the scoring halted until the eighth inning. The Royals’ offseason acquisitions took over and came up clutch late in the game.

Andrew Benintendi gave Kansas City the lead in the eighth with his first RBI as a Royal with a single. Unfortunately, his go-ahead single would be nullieifed by a two-run hoemr from Adam Eaton in the bottom half of the inning.

Going into the final frame, the Royals trailed 3-2. First baseman, Carlos Santana led off the inning with a game-tying home run. Slamtana’s first dinger in a Royals uniform and 800th career RBI. With his clutch homer, the game would go into extra innings.

In the top of the tenth, the Royals went back to their small ball ways. Nicky Lopez started the inning with a sacrifice bunt, moving Michael A. Taylor to third. After a Merrifield walk, Benintendi brought home Taylor on a throwing error off a bunt. The Royals regained the lead, 4-3, heading into the bottom half of the inning.

Mike Matheny went with Kyle Zimmer to close out Chicago. Zimmer started the inning with back-to-back strikeouts. He finished it off with a groundball to Lopez to short and Kansas City split the two-game set. Zimmer recorded the first save of his career.

Up Next

The Royals currently sit at 4-3 through their first seven games. This week, they return to Kauffman Stadium for three games against the Angels and four games against the Blue Jays.

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