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Clutch Whit: Merrifield swings big bat vs. Sox

Royals second baseman's second HR sets up walk-off heroics
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- As Whit Merrifield's tying home run in the eighth that set up the Royals' 5-4 walk-off win in the ninth over the White Sox on Sunday began to carry, Merrifield knew he had hit his 10th home run of the season.

Halfway down the first-base line, Merrifield looked across his body toward an exuberant Royals dugout and pumped his fist.

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KANSAS CITY -- As Whit Merrifield's tying home run in the eighth that set up the Royals' 5-4 walk-off win in the ninth over the White Sox on Sunday began to carry, Merrifield knew he had hit his 10th home run of the season.

Halfway down the first-base line, Merrifield looked across his body toward an exuberant Royals dugout and pumped his fist.

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In the series opener on Friday, Merrifield, who owns a 10-game hitting streak, hit a sacrifice fly for a 7-6 walk-off win in 10 innings against the White Sox. He finished the three-game set 4-for-10 with six RBIs.

"He gives you everything he's got day in and day out," left-hander Travis Wood said. "I love having him behind me."

Merrifield's first home run on Sunday was the Royals' first hit of the game and started a run of three straight homers in the fourth inning. Leading off, Merrifield sent his ninth home run into the left-center-field seats. Merrifield hit two homers in all of his rookie season.

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Jorge Bonifacio and Eric Hosmer followed Merrifield with homers. Not since Tony Graffanino, Angel Berroa and Doug Mientkiewicz on May 25, 2006, had the Royals hit three straight home runs. With four homers on Sunday, the Royals now have 122. The franchise record is 168.

The White Sox took the lead in the fifth inning with four runs against Wood, but Merrifield tied it with the first multi-homer game of his career. Merrifield extended his arms on a 2-2 offering from reliever Dan Jennings. The ball sailed into the left-field seats, and the stage was set for Brandon Moss' walk-off double in the ninth.

"Winning, to me, has always been supreme to anything," Merrifield said. "When that opportunity presents itself, all I'm trying to do is win the game. When I'm in that situation, it's perfect."

Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Kansas City Royals, Whit Merrifield