Kansas City Royals’ winning streak hits three games

The Royals’ best game of the year? Book it.

The 8-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday before a Kauffman Stadium crowd of 17,650 included plenty of home team highlights.

Start with Jonathan Heasley.

In collecting his second major league victory, Heasley tossed seven scoreless innings. After he surrendered a first-inning single the only other runner Heasley allowed reached on an error.

Royals pitchers had surrendered double-digit hits in 12 of the last 14 games. Friday, Heasley and three relievers allowed four hits for one of the season’s strongest efforts from the mound.

Three home runs helped extend the hot hitting of late. MJ Melendez blasted a three-run shot; Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer, and Michael A. Taylor capped the scoring with a solo knock. Hunter Dozier would have made it four, but Cedric Mullins scaled the center-field wall to pull it back.

Still, the Royals trumped the Orioles in that department as well with no less than three gems. There was Perez’s pounce and spinning throw to nab the speedy Mullins on a bunt attempt. Melendez made a diving grab in right field, and Taylor picked up Andrew Benintendi when the left fielder seemed to lose track of a fly ball. Taylor swooped in for the catch.

Add it up and the Royals now own a three-game winning streak, their second of the season. The first one occurred in April.

It also means the Royals (20-37) no longer own baseball’s worst record. They entered the day tied with the Oakland A’s for the game’s worst winning percentage. That now belongs solely to Oakland.

Heasley had little to show for recent good performances. He entered the game off successive quality starts but the Royals dropped both of those games. Friday, Heasley struck out seven and didn’t issue a walk.

The Royals provided run support immediately. Whit Merrifield smoked Bruce Zimmermann’s first pitch just foul on the left-field line. Merrifield waited a nano second longer on the second pitch and this one stayed inside the bag for a double.

Benintendi followed with an opposite-field RBI double. One out later, Perez drove a laser beyond the center-field wall. The blast, Perez’s team leading ninth, cleared the second wall and was measured at 436 feet.

In one plate appearance, Perez had his second straight multi-RBI game and third home run in the past seven games.

Perez added an RBI double in the third, scoring Bobby Witt Jr., who had one-hopped a ball to the left-field fence— 110 mph exit velocity — and turned it into a hustle triple.

The four game series continues on Saturday with a 3:10 start.

This story was originally published June 10, 2022 10:18 PM.

Blair Kerkhoff has covered sports for The Kansas City Star since 1989.

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