KANSAS CITY -- After not scoring for 22 straight innings, the Royals found some offense at the bottom of the lineup against one of the game’s toughest right-handers -- Mets flamethrower Noah Syndergaard.
Viloria fell behind in the count, 0-2, to Syndergaard when he roped a 98-mph fastball into the right-field corner.
“I’m looking for just a fastball,” Viloria said. “I know he throws the fastball. I went into the at-bat looking for a fastball. I found it and hit a double. I didn’t think it was fair, but it was fair.”
Lopez followed by slapping a 99-mph sinker from Syndergaard on a 3-1 count just fair. The key, Lopez said, was just competing.
“Especially against someone who is so well-known in the game,” Lopez said. “You know what he has. The good fastball and the slider. You just try to compete and see a good pitch, and drive in Meibrys from third.”
“Those were huge,” manager Ned Yost said. “Great at-bat by Phillips. Great at-bat by Bubba. We got some breathing room. Bubba smoked the ball up the middle. We were all glad to see that.
“I think it was more relief for Bubba. He was having a tough night with three punchouts. But he was facing one of the best pitchers in baseball and I fully expected that. And for him to come through and get a hit was a load off his shoulders for sure.”
Add it up and it was enough for another win for Royals left-hander Mike Montgomery, who was sharp for the second straight outing. He went six strong innings, giving up five hits and one unearned run with two walks and three strikeouts.
Montgomery, who threw seven scoreless in his previous outing against the Tigers and struck out a career-high 12, didn’t quite have the same command this time out. But he threw 52 strikes out of 80 pitches, and he made big pitches when he had to.
The biggest pitch for Montgomery came in the third with the Mets holding a 1-0 lead and runners on first and third and one out. He threw a cutter that jammed Todd Frazier, who rolled into a 6-4-3 double play.
“I had a feeling to keep attacking, keep with the plan and eventually one of those grounders is going to find one of the defenders,” Montgomery said. “It was a great play to turn it right after the error. That’s huge. I thought that was the turning point in the game. To hold them to one there gave us a little boost.”
Still, there was some drama at the end. Closer Ian Kennedy gave up two soft ground-ball singles and a walk, loading the bases with two out.
But Kennedy got Amed Rosario to hit a grounder to deep short that Lopez fielded and fired to second for the force on a close play.
“They were finding holes and I was just happy I was able to get to one at the end,” Lopez said. “Whenever Kennedy is on the mound, we’re all confident. So we knew he was going to get us some ground balls.
“I put a little bit on the throw, and [second baseman] Whit [Merrifield] was there. If I threw it in the vicinity, I knew he was going to catch it.”