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No hits for Whit: Career-best streak over at 19

New Royals leadoff man's run was longest in MLB this season
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- It's not often the home crowd applauds after a strikeout, but that's exactly what happened on Monday night. As Whit Merrifield walked back to the dugout, Royals fans recognized him for a 19-game hitting streak, which ended after going 0-for-5 in a 7-3 loss to the Astros.

The career-high streak was the longest in the Major Leagues this season by two games. Merrifield batted .409 (27-for-66) during the stretch. However, the end of his run came in Merrifield's first game occupying the leadoff spot.

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KANSAS CITY -- It's not often the home crowd applauds after a strikeout, but that's exactly what happened on Monday night. As Whit Merrifield walked back to the dugout, Royals fans recognized him for a 19-game hitting streak, which ended after going 0-for-5 in a 7-3 loss to the Astros.

The career-high streak was the longest in the Major Leagues this season by two games. Merrifield batted .409 (27-for-66) during the stretch. However, the end of his run came in Merrifield's first game occupying the leadoff spot.

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"Quickest way to end a 19-game streak is to move him into the leadoff spot," manager Ned Yost said. "I guess I'll take credit for that."

Said Merrifield: "Why? He gave me an extra chance. It wasn't the leadoff spot that made me take some bad swings off good pitches."

Yost moved Merrifield to the leadoff spot for the first time since May 7 as part of a few alterations to the Royals' batting order. In the hours after his team was shut out for a MLB-worst sixth time this season on Sunday, Yost decided to make a change.

The shuffle -- designed to give third baseman Mike Moustakas more RBI opportunities -- had the desired effect on Moustakas, who moved down four spots to the six-hole, as he came up twice with runners on. However, it didn't result in a sudden outpouring of runs for an offense ranked last in the Majors in runs scored.

Yost said he will stick with Monday's batting order for the time being.

Prior to the streak-ending strikeout, Merrifield flied out to right-center in the seventh -- in what he called his "best swing of the night."

"I was happy with my pitch selection and how I was seeing it, I just didn't make very good swings on pitches that I should've -- that I have been making good swings on," Merrifield said. "Just happened to be one of those nights."

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

Kansas City Royals, Whit Merrifield