Kansas City designated hitter Whit Merrifield had two hits, an RBI and a stolen base while extending his on-base streak to a career-high 22 games and right-hander Jorge Lopez struck out a career-high eight in the Royals’ 9-1 victory over the visiting Baltimore Orioles at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday.
Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar had three hits and an RBI apiece and Jorge Bonifacio had two hits and an RBI as the Royals won their fifth in a row and seventh in their last eight, both season bests.
Lopez (1-3) gave up five hits and one run in seven innings and did not walk a batter in his first victory since September, 2015, when he was with Milwaukee. He was acquired from the Brewers in the Mike Moustakas trade deadline deal in July.
Jonathan Villar homered and Chris Davis and Joey Rickard had two hits apiece for the Orioles, who have lost three in a row and 11 of their last 14. Baltimore (40-97) has both the worst home and road records in the majors and is on pace to lose 114 games.
Villar homered with two outs in the first inning for a 1-0 lead, the only run off Lopez. Bonifacio, Brett Phillips and Escobar singled to tie the game at 1 in the last of the inning.
Baltimore committed three errors when the Royals took a 4-1 lead with a three-run third. Merrifield singled, stole second, went to third on Gordon’s single and scored on Hess’s errant pickoff throw to first base. Bonifacio doubled in Gordon, and Bonifacio scored on throwing errors by Hess and second baseman Villar on the same play, a pickoff attempt at second.
Merrifield singled in a run in the fifth inning for a 5-1 lead, an inning that began when Phillips struck out but reached first on a wild pitch.
Hess (3-9) gave up nine hits and five runs (four earned) in four innings, with three strikeouts and no walks. He pitched six scoreless innings in his previous outing.
Catcher Meibrys Viloria, recalled from Class A Wilmington on Saturday, hit a two-run double in a four-run eighth inning, his first major league hit. Gordon doubled and Hunter Dozier tripled for a 9-1 lead.
—Field Level Media