Two Royals with Omaha connections helped a guy without one, as the Kansas City Royals defeated the Detroit Tigers 7-3 Thursday night in the first major league game ever played in the state of Nebraska.
The game was played in front of 25,454 fans at Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park, preluding the 2019 College World Series.
Whit Merrifield, who had the CWS-winning hit in 2010 for South Carolina, had two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored for the Royals. Nicky Lopez, who played at TD Ameritrade with Creighton, hit his first career MLB home run.
Homer Bailey (5-6), who never pitched in Omaha though he was a member of the Storm Chasers at the start of this season, earned the victory with six scoreless innings on two hits.
The Royals won the three-game series, their first series win since a three-game sweep over the Cleveland Indians from April 12-14. It was also their first win in a rubber game of a series since May 30, 2018, a span of 14 straight rubber-game losses.
Matthew Boyd (5-5), who pitched in the College World Series in 2013 with Oregon State, took the loss, allowing five runs (four earned) in four innings.
JaCoby Jones, who played in the 2013 CWS with LSU, was hit by a pitch and removed from the game with a left elbow contusion.
There were eight players — plus Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire — on the two rosters who played in the College World Series during their college careers.
Lopez got the Royals on the board with his homer in the second inning. The Royals were not done in the second. Martin Maldonado followed Lopez’ home run with a double, and moved to third on a bunt single by Terrance Gore. Boyd then balked, scoring Maldonado.
Merrifield gave the Royals a 4-0 lead with a two-out double in the fourth. He then scored on a throwing error by Niko Goodrum.
Maldonado’s RBI single scored Jorge Soler with the sixth Royals run in the fifth. Merrifield doubled and scored the Royals’ final run in the sixth.
The Tigers scored single runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth.
—Field Level Media