Royals keep season-high home win streak alive with victory



September 12, 2018 - 11:06 AM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Their place in the standings offers no resemblance to the days of 2014 and 2015, but the Royals have dropped some subtle reminders inside Kauffman Stadium over the past couple of weeks. Manager Ned Yost spotted the trend, his club returning to finding a variety in their sources of scoring.
After nearly a week’s worth of examples, the leading exhibit came Tuesday night.
Five different Royals drove in a run, the impetus behind a 6-3 victory at Kauffman Stadium, which drew a crowd of 17,613 in the second game of a three-game set. The Chicago White Sox left the bases loaded in the ninth.
Kansas City (49-95) has won seven consecutive home games, its longest such streak since August 2016. It clinched its fourth straight home series. And it improved to 6-4 in September. The Royals have not had a winning month this year, the offense failing to provide consistency for long stretches.
But in the initial five innings Tuesday, they scored on a bunt, a fly out, a double and a pair of singles. Five players were responsible for the run-scoring plate appearances. Five players crossed home plate. It’s the kind of effectiveness that supplies the reminders of those postseason runs.
The effectiveness on the mound came from right-hander Brad Keller once again.
With fewer than three weeks left on the regular season calendar, Keller has emerged as one of the top rookie pitchers in the American League. No first-year player in the league has thrown more innings with a better earned run average than Keller.
He had one brief hiccup Tuesday — the White Sox taking a short-lived 1-0 lead in the third — but he conveniently worked around trouble in the initial two innings and avoided it altogether as the start grew older. Keller survived seven innings of one-run baseball, allowing four hits and two walks. He did not allow a hit over the final four innings.
Nearing the finish line of a season he began in the bullpen, Keller has allowed two runs or fewer in seven straight starts. The earned run average stands at 3.04, the lowest since July 7.
His initial support was a three-run third inning. Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi — occupying the top-two spots in the Royals order — had run-scoring singles. Mondesi was credited with a base hit after dropping down a safety squeeze bunt and beating an errant throw to first base.
Merrifield also had two stolen bases and leads the league with 33, one more than Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez. He has swiped third base 12 times this year, also a league-best. Mondesi had one and leads all of baseball with 16 steals since the All-Star break.
White Sox starter Dylan Covey failed to make it out of the fifth inning, falling to 5-13. The Royals had added another in the fourth, when Ryan O’Hearn tripled and Jorge Bonifacio followed with a double. And they strung together two more in the fifth on Hunter Dozier’s single.

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