Home cookin': Melendez propels Royals' 9th straight win at The K

April 20th, 2024

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals are 20 days deep into this month’s schedule and still haven’t lost an April game at Kauffman Stadium.

With a 9-4 victory over the Orioles on Friday, Kansas City made sure the good vibes continued at home. Alec Marsh delivered 5 2/3 scoreless innings and Vinnie Pasquantino once again showed his power stroke with a fourth-inning homer that got the Royals off and running.

Timely hitting in the sixth inning resulted in a five-run, two-out rally that was kick-started by 's RBI single, which snapped an 0-for-23 skid. Then in the seventh, Melendez crushed a three-run homer that traveled 424 feet and provided ample insurance after the Orioles had narrowed their deficit to 6-4.

For Melendez, it was a particularly gratifying evening. He was coming off an 0-for-18 road trip, but his four-RBI night continued a run of clutch performances at home. Melendez is now slashing .378/.465/.811 at Kauffman Stadium with four homers, 12 RBIs and a 1.276 OPS.

Despite going hitless on the six-game trip, Melendez never felt like he was far off at the plate.

“Baseball is tough,” Melendez said. “Some balls I hit hard [on the road trip]. Some at-bats, I wish I could have done things differently. Just try to stay positive and I know things will turn around for me personally.”

With the Royals up 1-0 in the sixth, the Orioles brought on left-hander Keegan Akin to face the lefty-hitting Melendez. But that move backfired when Melendez came through with his RBI single to right. Kansas City kept the line moving and ultimately tacked on four more runs to go ahead 6-0.

“It feels good to do that left-on-left,” Melendez said.

After Adley Rutschman’s grand slam got Baltimore back in the game, Melendez had the definitive answer in the seventh with his three-run homer off Dillon Tate.

“Got a sinker [in the] middle of the plate and didn’t miss it,” Melendez said.

Royals manager Matt Quatraro fully appreciated the big blast from Melendez.

“Once they put up the four [runs from the grand slam], the complexion of that game changed completely,” Quatraro said. “That was probably the biggest takeaway for me, answering back there against Tate.”

Marsh gave up just three hits before John Schreiber came on in the sixth. The Orioles had runners at second and third with one out in the first when catcher Salvador Perez picked off Gunnar Henderson at third. From there, Marsh was on solid footing until Kansas City went to the bullpen.

“That’s just a huge momentum shift for me,” Marsh said of Perez’s pickoff throw. “Kind of in a jam there and then we’ve got a chance to get out of it with no runs. It was great.”

On a night full of positives for the Royals, Marsh picked up his 100th career strikeout and Maikel Garcia snapped an 0-for-26 slump.

Throw in a couple of hits and two RBIs from Michael Massey -- who made his season debut after a rehab stint -- and it all added up to a rousing homestand opener.

The Royals last took a loss at home on March 30 against the Twins in the second game of the season. Since then, they’ve racked up nine consecutive wins at Kauffman. It’s the longest home winning streak for Kansas City since the club won nine straight from May 27 to June 15 in 2016.

“We love playing at home in front of our fans,” Melendez said.

In the merry month of April, the Royals have certainly given those fans plenty to cheer about.