'Wow factor' Witt clobbers nearly 900 feet of HRs in 5th straight win

Superstar shortstop drives in six runs as Royals tie 1976 club for best record through 50 games

May 22nd, 2024

KANSAS CITY -- On Tuesday night, sent a baseball to a section of the Kauffman Stadium fountains few other hitters have reached.

In the second inning against Tigers starter Casey Mize, Witt took a splitter out to the upper deck of the left-field fountains.

It traveled a jaw-dropping 468 feet, landing in the water with an emphatic splash. The three-run blast helped push the Royals to an emphatic 10-3 victory over the Tigers, marking Kansas City’s fifth win in a row and a series win over Detroit with Wednesday’s finale on deck.

“It wouldn’t have surprised me if it would have been 500 [feet],” manager Matt Quatraro said. “It seemed like it was a golf ball when he hit it. It was such a controlled swing, too. The power that he has for his size, and when he gets going and catches balls out front, it’s really impressive.”

Witt’s homer, which was his first of two on Tuesday night, was the longest of his career by 25 feet, surpassing his previous mark of 443 feet (June 3, 2022).

It was the third-longest by a Royal at Kauffman Stadium behind Brandon Moss (474 feet in 2017) and Kendrys Morales (469 feet in ‘15) and seventh-longest at The K by any player since 2015.

“I didn’t really watch it,” Witt said. “I just started running.”

Witt added another home run in the sixth inning for his second multihomer game this season and fourth of his career. That one traveled only 425 feet, so Witt hit nearly 900 feet of home runs on Tuesday.

With a single and sacrifice fly along with the first homer of Witt’s night, the Royals’ shortstop had five RBIs and a stolen base by the third inning as the Royals stacked eight runs on the Tigers -- including six charged to Mize -- in three innings.

“You think you’d get used to it being around him every day, and then he does something new that you just haven’t seen,” Royals starter Alec Marsh said after allowing three runs in six innings. “And it’s like, ‘Wow.’ The wow factor with him is unbelievable. I’m glad he’s on our team.”

Witt tied his career high with six RBIs with his second homer, and he wasn’t even the only Royal with an historic game. Third baseman Maikel Garcia was 3-for-3 in the first three innings with two triples, becoming the 24th Royal to have a two-triple game and the first since Whit Merrifield in 2019.

Of that group, only three have two triples in the first three innings of the game: Garcia, Butch Davis (1983) and George Brett (1979). Garcia finished with a four-hit night, matching a career-high, and is hitting .359 on his current nine-game hitting streak.

“Whenever you’re on a list with George Brett, it’s something special,” said Witt, who speaks from experience.

Garcia and Witt were the ultimate 1-2 punch at the top of the Royals’ lineup Tuesday, going a combined 7-for-9 with seven RBIs and six runs scored. But the rest of the lineup helped out, too.

Salvador Perez added an RBI single in the first and Hunter Renfroe blasted his fourth homer in the seventh.

“Tonight it didn't matter who was up,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “They were putting up really good at-bats. At the top, triple leadoff and Witt comes in and does his thing. He was really tough tonight. Salvy last night, [Vinnie] Pasquantino any given night, [Michael] Massey puts the ball in play hard, Renfroe hits the ball out of the ballpark.

“I mean, we can go up and down their lineup tonight.”

The Royals’ offense has been itching to take some pressure off their starter earlier in games, and that’s exactly what they did Tuesday. Marsh pitched with an eight-run lead until he allowed three runs in the fourth, but he still finished with a quality start, tossing six innings and striking out five.

“Any time we play like that, we’re going to win a lot of games,” Marsh said. “I don’t even know how many we scored, I wasn’t even trying to pay attention, but then I was sitting there for 20-30 minutes and going, ‘What’s going on out there?’”

What was going on was the Royals smashing their way to another win. At 31-19, the Royals have matched the 1976 club for the best start in franchise history through the season’s first 50 games.

And yet, Witt noted Tuesday…

“We still aren’t even to our full stride,” Witt said. “We’re still working to keep getting there. … I think the guys are going out of their way to prepare more, and everyone’s starting to buy in, knowing this team is special and we’ve got to keep moving.”