Royals snap no-hit through 5, stage comeback

Lopez, Dini belt back-to-back homers in go-ahead 7th-inning rally

August 20th, 2019

BALTIMORE -- The Royals could not get a hit until the sixth inning on Monday night against the Orioles, but they did plenty of damage after that at Camden Yards.

’s two-run single sparked a three-run sixth, while and homered on the first two pitches of the seventh inning as the Royals won 5-4 in the opener of a three-game series.

O's starter John Means (8-9) did not allow a hit until Lopez singled to start the sixth inning. Two batters later, Whit Merrifield hit a game-tying single before Dozier gave the Royals a 3-1 lead. That two-run single stretched his hitting streak to eight games.

“[Means] did give us trouble, but as soon as we got that first hit, it kind of opened up the floodgates a little bit,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said.

Lopez and Dini then belted their back-to-back homers off Gabriel Ynoa to start the seventh, making it 5-2. For Dini, it was his first Major League homer and brought out lots of cheering from the approximately 40 family and friends that came to see him.

Dini is from Monroe, N.J., and it was easy to hear his family and friends screaming after his homer -- which meant a lot to him.

“My parents were here -- grandparents, sister, cousins, friends, friends of friends; anything, you name it,” Dini said with a smile. “I heard them screaming the whole game. It was a good one.”

That’s one reason hitting that home run meant so much. Belting his first big league home run is pretty good, but to do it in front of friends and family truly is special.

“You dream about it, you think about it all the time coming up through the Minor Leagues,” Dini said. “Then it happens and you feel like you’re just floating around the bases. And to be able to do it so close to home and have as many people here for me as I did, it was really special.”

The back-to-back homers also meant a lot to Dini -- and Lopez -- for a different reason.

They roomed together in the Minor Leagues and became good friends on their journey to the Royals. Lopez had a big smile on his face when talking about how happy he was to see his friend hit his first Major League homer.

“Nick’s been one of my best friends throughout every year in the Minor Leagues,” Lopez said. “It’s good to see that he’s having some success. He deserves it, so I’m glad it happened to him, too.”

(2-7) gave Kansas City five strong innings at the start, allowing one run on two hits and two walks. he struggled in his last start -- a no-decision -- giving up five runs (four earned) on two hits in 1 1/3 frames against Detroit on Aug. 8.

This time, Lopez kept the Orioles in check throughout his start. He surrendered an RBI double to DJ Stewart in the second, which put the O's in front 1-0, but the right-hander did not allow anything else.

Yost said the Royals were going to limit Lopez to about 65 pitches, as he’s been coming out of the bullpen in the past few months. But when Kansas City took the lead with the three-run top of the sixth, Yost pulled Lopez, as he’d thrown 63 pitches.

“He did a great job, rebounded nicely,” Yost said. “He just threw the ball extremely well, and I was pleased. You know, he’s had a rough go here lately. I was real pleased to see him pitch so effectively and pitch so well.”

Ian Kennedy closed it in the ninth, earning his 22nd save, despite giving up a two-out homer to Rio Ruiz. The Royals handed the Orioles their eighth straight loss.