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Royals rout Rangers behind barrage of big hits

Dozier fuels early surge; Merrifield, Lopez log milestone knocks
@FlannyMLB
May 15, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- Three takeaways from the Royals’ 11-5 win over the Rangers on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium. Offense comes alive early Hunter Dozier had two hits and three RBIs, Jorge Soler had three hits and two RBIs and Alex Gordon had two hits and two RBIs to lead

KANSAS CITY -- Three takeaways from the Royals’ 11-5 win over the Rangers on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Offense comes alive early
Hunter Dozier had two hits and three RBIs, Jorge Soler had three hits and two RBIs and Alex Gordon had two hits and two RBIs to lead the offensive assault.

The Royals scored three times in the first and broke the game open with a six-run second when they sent 11 batters to the plate.

Box score

Whit Merrifield delivered his 500th career hit, part of a three-hit night. And rookie Nicky Lopez, making his Major League debut, delivered an RBI single.

“I didn’t even know that was career hit No. 500 for Whit,” manager Ned Yost said. “But hit No. 1 for Nicky was pretty special. Whit had another good night like he always does, three knocks. Very consistent offensive force for us.

“Nicky had some great at-bats for us. Hit it deep to left his first time up and got Whit to third to set up our first run. Glad to see Nicky get his first hit. That’s under his belt now.”

Lopez predictably had some nerves.

"I was actually less nervous than I thought I was going to be, but yeah there were definitely butterflies,” he said. “I tried to take it all in when I went out there, kind of looked up and just took it all in, saw all the fans, the bright lights, the big crown in center field. I tried to take as much in as possible today."

As for his first hit, Lopez said, "That's one of the more emotional times of my career. I was at first base looking up, seeing all the fans cheering, seeing my teammates cheer. I vividly remember looking at home plate and Whit was standing there cheering for me, too. Then I looked up in the press box and saw my parents going nuts. That's when it hit me a little bit. I was like, 'Wow. This is crazy. This is the way I dreamed of it happening when I was a little kid.'"

Barlow to the rescue again

Reliever Scott Barlow continues his impressive season.

Barlow entered the game with the Royals up 9-4, but with runners on second and third and none out in the sixth as the Rangers threatened to creep back into the game.

But Barlow once again slammed the door on an opponent. He got a popup, a lineout and a strikeout to end the threat.

“If you give up one run in that spot, it’s an excellent job,” Yost said. “And he didn’t give up any. That’s golden right there.”

Barlow then tossed a 1-2-3 seventh inning, lowering his ERA to 1.77.

Duffy hangs on
Royals starter Danny Duffy breezed through the first two innings, retiring all six hitters he faced. But Duffy sat for an extended period as Kansas City sent 11 men to the plate and scored six runs in the second inning.

Duffy gave up four runs in the third, but two of those came in when Gordon lost a routine fly ball in the tough twilight sky off the bat of Joey Gallo for a two-run double.

“Danny sure labored in the third inning, like a 40-pitch something inning,” Yost said. “Kind of took the wind out of his sails.

“Really should have given up just two runs, but as soon as that ball was hit [to Gordon], I knew nobody was going to catch it because it was just that time of the day. I would have been really surprised if anyone sees this ball.”

Duffy made it through five innings, though, to get the win, needing 107 pitches. He gave up seven hits and four runs, striking out six.

“He came in after the fourth at 94 pitches and said he still felt good,” Yost said, “but I said, ‘Hey, I’ll send you back out, but I’m not going past 110 pitches.’ Boom, he gets two outs on two pitches and thought he might go out for the sixth.”

Duffy said the long wait in the bottom of the second didn’t affect his third inning.

“No, I was staying loose,” Duffy said. “I just got to make better pitches. I got 0-2, 1-2 to, like, four different hitters. I wasn’t just putting them away.”

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