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Kennedy ends season strong in Royals' loss

Righty exits in tough 7th; Merrifield extends hit streak to 18
September 28, 2018

KANSAS CITY -- Four straight quality starts certainly would have been a great way for right-hander Ian Kennedy to close out his 2018 season.And Kennedy appeared on his way Friday night against the Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Kennedy stifled the Indians on three hits and one run through six innings.

KANSAS CITY -- Four straight quality starts certainly would have been a great way for right-hander Ian Kennedy to close out his 2018 season.
And Kennedy appeared on his way Friday night against the Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Kennedy stifled the Indians on three hits and one run through six innings. But in the seventh, Kennedy gave up three straight hits, and all three runners scored, tainting his line in an eventual 14-6 loss.
The loss snapped the Royals' four-game winning streak.
Still Kennedy, who missed two months because of a strained oblique, came back strong from that injury in September, giving up just four runs over his previous three starts, two of them wins.
And Friday he was locked into a pitchers duel with Indians starter Mike Clevinger through six.
But Josh Donaldson belted a double to lead off the seventh, and Yonder Alonso and Melky Cabrera followed with singles, giving the Tribe a 2-0 lead.

"[Kennedy] was in control in the seventh inning, too," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He ended up giving up the double to Donaldson and then the base hit, but he threw the ball really, really well."
Added Kennedy, "In the seventh, I hung one curveball on the double. Threw some good curveballs to Yonder and Melky. But one just got over [the infield] and the other was perfectly placed through the shift."

From there, the Indians teed off on the Royals' bullpen. When the carnage was through, they had scored 10 runs, and Donaldson accounted for four with his fifth career grand slam. That came off right-hander Jake Newberry.
Kennedy walked one and struck out two as he finished the season with a 4.66 ERA. HIs ERA stood at 6.08 in early June.
"Really positive [ending]," Kennedy said. "Very happy with the way I started the season and the way I finished. It was just those seven starts in May and June that was pretty tough. It was nice how it finished. It was the longest time I've been hurt. But it was encouraging the way it finished."
The Royals, meanwhile, struggled against Clevinger, producing just three hits and one run through 6 2/3 innings.

Ryan O'Hearn and Hunter Dozier produced back-to-back doubles in the seventh for the Royals, who put together a five-run rally in the ninth, sparked by Brian Goodwin's grand slam, his second in the Major Leagues. The first was March 31 this season while he was with the Nationals at Cincinnati.
"They kept battling, against their closer [Cody Allen]," Yost said. "[Allen] was coming in to get some work. Just because the score was 14-1 or whatever it was, they kept putting together good at bats."
SOUND SMART
Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a third-inning single. Merrifield also has 189 hits, three ahead of Boston's J.D. Martinez for the American League lead, and two behind Atlanta's Freddie Freeman for the Major League lead.

UP NEXT
Royals right-hander Jakob Junis (8-12, 4.42 ERA) will pitch Game 3 of this series against the Indians at 6:15 p.m. CT on Saturday at Kauffman Stadium. Junis took a no-decision on Saturday in Detroit, going six innings and giving up three runs. He has allowed three runs or fewer in 10 of his past 12 starts. Righty Corey Kluber (20-7, 2.83 ERA) will start for Cleveland.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.