KANSAS CITY -- Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield simultaneously set the longest hitting streak in the Major Leagues this season and sparked a six-run outburst with one swing of the bat in the fifth inning of a 12-5 victory over the Indians on Saturday.With runners on first and second and
KANSAS CITY -- Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield simultaneously set the longest hitting streak in the Major Leagues this season and sparked a six-run outburst with one swing of the bat in the fifth inning of a 12-5 victory over the Indians on Saturday.
With runners on first and second and none out, Merrifield smacked a line drive to right-center field. The hit, which Statcast™ measured at 103.1 mph, scored both runners and extended Merrifield's career-high hitting streak to 18 games.
"That was a big moment for us," Merrifield said. "It felt good to put a barrel on it and watch it go in the gap."
Prior to Merrifield's hit, the Royals hadn't had much success against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco, who had mostly stifled Kansas City's bats over four scoreless innings. After it, three of four batters reached base. After Mike Moustakas plated two more on a double three batters later, the Royals had taken a lead it would not surrender and Carrasco was lifted from the game.
"[Moustakas'] double [and] Whit's double, I think those cracked the game open for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Lorenzo Cain plated two runs (one charged to Carrasco) on a home run to cap the frame. The six runs in the inning is tied for the most by the Royals in an inning this season. The 12 runs marked a season high for Kansas City.
Merrifield finished the game 1-for-4 with 2 RBIs. Over his 18-game hitting streak, which began on May 13, the second-year player has hit .387 (24-for-62), raising his season average from .211 to .293.
After the Royals' six-run fifth inning, they scored five runs -- four unearned -- in the seventh and another in the bottom of the eighth. Though the final score showed a blowout and might have happened without Merrifield's hit, his streak-continuing double began the scoring onslaught. As usual though, Merrifield said his focus isn't on what is now the longest hitting streak in the Major Leagues this season. (Michael Trout and Jean Segura both logged 17-game streaks).
"It's cool, but to me, my consistency has been good," Merrifield said. "Every at-bat I go up and try to have the best at-bat I can. Whatever happens, happens."
Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.