Royals Stat of the Day: June 2021

July 1st, 2021 is keeping track of a Stat of the Day for the Royals this season, highlighting a unique, interesting or fun nugget from each game.

June 30: Red Sox 6, Royals 2 -- Whit rhymes with hit
In the sixth inning, Whit Merrifield doubled to open the frame, marking his 40th hit of June. Merrifield's 40 knocks marked a career high for hits in a calendar month. With the double, Merrifield became the first Royals player to have 40 or more hits in a month since outfielder Jon Jay (43) did so in May 2018.

June 29: Red Sox 7, Royals 6 -- Whit hits 10th career leadoff HR
Whit Merrifield is as good of a tone-setter in the leadoff spot as anybody, and that's what he did Tuesday night with his leadoff home run off Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta, a right-field shot tucked just inside the "Pesky Pole" at Fenway Park. It was Merrifield's 10th career leadoff home run and first since Sept. 12, 2020, against Pittsburgh. Those 10 homers match Johnny Damon for fourth most in Royals history behind Alex Gordon (14), Willie Wilson (11) and David DeJesus (11). Merrifield also tacked on an infield single in the eighth inning to record his team-leading 25th multi-hit game of the season.

June 28: Red Sox 6, Royals 5 -- First pitch, first hit for Rivera
Emmanuel Rivera didn't wait around for his first big league hit to come his way. On the first pitch he saw in his first career plate appearance Monday night against the Red Sox, the Royals third baseman knocked a single into right field for his first Major League hit. Rivera, who turns 25 on Tuesday, became the first Royal to record his first career hit on the first pitch of his first career plate appearance since Paul Phillips' single on Sept. 9, 2004, in Game 2 of a doubleheader against Detroit.

June 27: Rangers 4, Royals 1 -- Whit's three-hit finale
Despite having his 11-game hitting streak snapped the previous game at Globe Life Field, Whit Merrifield didn't take more than a day off base. He went 3-for-4 with the club's lone RBI in the finale loss, and his 43 RBIs are the most among American League leadoff hitters. Merrifield's eight hits are the most among Royals hitters on the current road trip, and he's batting .382 (21-for-55) over his last 13 games.

June 26: Rangers 8, Royals 0 -- KC blanked in Texas
It is not often the Royals' offense is shut down the way it was in the middle game of this set. Kansas City was shut out for just the fourth time this season in the loss at Globe Life Field and for the first time in almost two months, when they dropped a 3-0 decision to the White Sox on May 7. The Royals' three hits tied a season low in a nine-inning game this year, which they've done twice -- most recently at Detroit in a 4-2 loss on May 12.

June 25: Rangers 9, Royals 4 -- Taylor plates a pair
Michael A. Taylor started his Royals career out with a bang against the Rangers on Opening Day weekend, and facing them this weekend might help the center fielder get back in a groove offensively. His single up the middle in the ninth scored two runs for his first multi-RBI game since he drove in three on June 4 against Minnesota. In that stretch, he hit .172 with three RBIs and a .232 on-base percentage in 18 games.

June 24: Yankees 8, Royals 1 -- 10-game hitting streak for Whit
In the first at-bat of Thursday's loss to the Yankees, Whit Merrifield poked a single to left field against starter Jameson Taillon -- and just like that, he had another 10-game hitting streak. It's his 10th career streak of 10 games or more, and also his second such streak this season (May 30 to June 9). He's batting .364 with four doubles, a homer and seven runs scored during this current stretch. Merrifield is now the fourth player this season to have two hitting streaks of 10 games or more, joining Pittsburgh's Adam Frazier (three), Baltimore's Cedric Mullins (two) and Toronto's Marcus Semien (two).

June 23: Yankees 6, Royals 5 -- Walk this way
Seven Royals pitchers issued 11 walks to Yankees batters, who ended up leaving 10 on base. The 11 walks were the most given up by the Royals in a nine-inning game since July 7, 2018, when they allowed 13 walks against Boston. The Royals are 1-13 all-time when walking at least 11 in a nine-inning game.

June 22: Royals 6, Yankees 5 -- Bubic's Yankee Stadium debut
Kris Bubic entered with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth inning Tuesday night against the Yankees, and he promptly retired the next seven batters faced over 2 1/3 innings. With that outing -- Bubic’s first at Yankee Stadium -- the lefty became the fifth visiting rookie reliever over the past 30 years to retire the first seven batters in his Yankee Stadium debut, joining the Orioles’ Mac Sceroler (April 5, 2021), the Angels’ Luke Bard (Sept. 18, 2019), the Rays’ Jalen Beeks (Aug. 14, 2018) and the White Sox’s Matt Ginter (Oct. 1, 2001).

June 20: Royals 7, Red Sox 3 -- Whit's milestone single
Whit Merrifield's single to lead off the Royals' three-run third inning marked his 800th career hit. It took Merrifield 676 games to accomplish the feat as he became the second-fastest Royals hitter to do so, behind George Brett (668 games). Merrifield's first hit for Kansas City was a single in his MLB debut against the Red Sox on May 18, 2016.

June 19: Red Sox 7, Royals 1 -- Taylor's stellar grab
In the top of the seventh, Michael A. Taylor had to think quickly on his feet in center field. Alex Verdugo's line drive had a catch probability of 5% given the exit velocity and Taylor's placement in center, according to Statcast. But Taylor was able to cover 59 feet of outfield grass in 3.5 seconds to make the out, marking Kansas City's lowest catch probability conversion this season.

June 18: Royals 5, Red Sox 3 -- Salvy into top five
In Salvador Perez's fourth at-bat of the game, the longtime Royals slugger blasted his 170th career home run. Perez's 374-foot blast put him in sole possession of fifth place on the Royals' all-time leaderboard for home runs, passing Hal McRae.

June 16: Tigers 6, Royals 5 -- Salvy moves up HR record books
Salvador Perez cranked his 17th homer of the season in the series finale, giving him 169 career home runs -- all with the Royals. That moved the veteran catcher into a tie with Hal McRae for the fifth-most homers in franchise history. Up next is Alex Gordon's 190 career homers. Perez is on pace for 41 home runs this season, which would be the second most in club history behind Jorge Soler's 48 in 2019.

June 15: Tigers 4, Royals 3 -- Two-hit Whit
Like any hitter in a 162-game season, Whit Merrifield has had some ups and downs at the plate. From May 1-29, the Royals' leadoff hitter batted .221 in 26 games, with a .312 on-base percentage. But in recent weeks, he's turned that around: Since May 30, Merrifield is hitting .319 (22-for-69) in 16 games. In the middle game of this series against the Tigers, he had his second consecutive multi-hit effort, with singles in the third and fifth innings and one run scored on a wild pitch.

June 14: Tigers 10, Royals 3 -- Soler's 3-hit game
Jorge Soler, the Royals' slugger who crushed 48 home runs two years ago, has struggled mightily this season, hitting just .178 with six homers entering Monday. But against the Tigers, Soler went 3-for-4 with a double and a walk -- his first three-hit game since April 28. The double came on a smooth, opposite-field swing that he hasn't seen much of this year, and his final single was clocked at 113.3 mph, according to Statcast.

June 13: A's 6, Royals 3 -- Santana ends drought
Before the seventh inning, Carlos Santana's last 11 hits had all been singles. For a player who has built his career on patience and power, the latter had been in a slump for the last few weeks. But the Royals first baseman snapped that slide with a solo shot off A's reliever Yusmeiro Petit, giving Santana his first homer in 64 at-bats and first since May 25 against Tampa Bay, when he launched his 250th career home run. His 251 homers are tied with Tony Clark for 13th all-time among switch-hitters.

June 12: A's 11, Royals 2 -- His first walk in how long?
In the top of the seventh inning on Saturday afternoon, pinch-hitter Hanser Alberto did something he hadn't done in 185 plate appearances: He worked a walk. The infielder saw eight pitches from A's lefty Jesús Luzardo to draw his first free pass of the season and first since Sept. 4, 2020, which came against the Yankees. Alberto's 185 consecutive plate appearances without a walk was the longest such active streak in the Majors.

June 11: A's 4, Royals 3 -- 'That's what speed do'
Any time Jarrod Dyson comes into a game as a pinch-runner, everyone knows what he's about to do -- and yet opposing teams still can't catch him. In the ninth inning of Friday's loss to the A's, Dyson came in to run for Kelvin Gutierrez and proceeded to swipe his 42nd career bag as a pinch-runner. That's the most in the Majors since his debut in 2010. Dyson, 36, has five stolen bases in 33 games as the Royals' fourth outfielder this season.

June 10: Royals 6, A's 1 -- Soler's shot at odd history
Jorge Soler has a chance to set one of Major League Baseball's most unusual records this year. After a replay review determined that A's catcher Sean Murphy made contact with Soler's bat in the top of the seventh inning on Thursday, Soler was awarded first base on a catcher's interference for the sixth time this season. That's halfway to Jacoby Ellsbury's Major League record of 12 in one season, which came during his time with the Yankees. His next time up, Soler made sure that he didn't have more catcher's interference calls than homers so far this year when he demolished his 100th career home run in the eighth inning.

June 9: Angels 6, Royals 1 -- Hit-streak Whit does it again
With a single in the first, Whit Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 10 games, giving him his ninth streak of 10 or more games since 2017. He tied Anthony Rendon and they are second behind Charlie Blackmon (10 streaks) over that span.

June 8: Angels 8, Royals 1 -- Bolaños' strikeout run
Ronald Bolaños struck out the first five batters he faced during his relief outing against the Angels. That made him just the third Royals pitcher to strike out the first five batters coming in from the bullpen. The other two Royals pitchers to do so were Luke Hochevar (Sept. 10, 2013, vs. Cleveland) and Scott Sullivan (May 30, 2004, vs. Minnesota).

June 7: Kowar on the wild side
Royals rookie Jackson Kowar struggled to find his command in his MLB debut, leading him to throw three wild pitches in his two-thirds of an inning. The three wild pitches made him the first pitcher since knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in 1992 to throw three or more wild pitches in a MLB debut.

June 6: Twins 2, Royals 1 -- Benintendi extends RBI streak
Andrew Benintendi came through again in the series finale. His single up the middle in the third inning was his 29th RBI of the season and his fifth consecutive game with an RBI -- a stretch in which he's driven in 11. That's the second longest streak by a Royals hitter this season, trailing Salvador Perez's seven from May 28-June 4. Benintendi has also recorded a hit in his last 10 starts since May 26, a stretch in which he's hitting .351 with 14 RBIs.

June 5: Twins 5, Royals 4 -- Taylor's 98 mph assist
The Royals knew Michael A. Taylor could play a solid center field when they signed him this offseason, but the 30-year-old has shown off some elite defensive skills in the expansive outfield of Kauffman Stadium. Taylor fielded a single from Alex Kirilloff with two outs in the third inning and saw Nelson Cruz hustling home from second base. Taylor fired a 98 mph strike to catcher Salvador Perez, who tagged Cruz out to end the inning. That's the fastest-tracked throw on an outfield assist since the start of last season, as well as Taylor's third assist of 2021 -- and the first since his two during the first weekend of the season.

June 4: Royals 14, Twins 5 -- Salvy continues to rake
Royals catcher Salvador Perez didn't homer, but he made sure to still come through at the plate in the rout. His two-run single in a nine-run first extended his hit streak to eight games, during which he's batting .333 (11-for-33). He also has at least one RBI in a career-high seven straight games, the longest run by a Royals hitter since Kendrys Morales (seven) from Sept. 5-12, 2016. The club record is Mike Sweeney's 13-game streak in 1999.

June 3: Royals 6, Twins 5 -- Barlow's save stands out
It's hard to overstate how important Scott Barlow is to the Royals' bullpen this year. In the opener of a four-game series, the right-hander recorded the last six outs to mark his second two-inning save of the season -- becoming the only pitcher in the Majors in 2021 with two six-out saves. And he's the first Royals pitcher with two such saves in a season since Joakim Soria logged five in 2009.

June 1: Royals 10, Pirates 5 -- Over .500
Salvador Perez belted a pair of homers and Kansas City swept the two-game set to move a game over .500 for the first time since May 7, having won 11 of its last 17 on the heels of an 11-game losing streak that stretched through the early part of May. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Royals are the sixth team in the last 67 years to fall below .500 because of an 11-game (or more) losing streak, then return to above .500 in the same season. The other teams to do it? The 1994 Red Sox, '78 A's, '70 Cubs, '66 Reds and the '55 Phillies.