KANSAS CITY -- If you know anything about Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield's game, you know this was it: Pester the opponent relentlessly with his speed and daring.
Merrifield's imprints were all over the Royals' 4-2 win over the Tigers on Sunday as he delivered two hits, including a hustle double, scored two runs and matched a career high with three stolen bases.
Royals manager Ned Yost calls Merrifield "an action guy."
Third baseman Mike Moustakas added, "He's such a good ballplayer. He gets on base, steals bases, hits for average, hits for power, and does it all. When he's going good, he helps us win ballgames. You saw what he can do today. He's a special player."
Merrifield led off the Royals' first inning with a hard ground ball off third baseman Niko Goodrum. The ball caromed into left field, and Merrifield hustled into second with a double.
Merrifield then stole third base and scored on a shallow fly to left by Moustakas.
"That's my job," Merrifield said. "That's what I do. I get on and cause havoc, try to make it easier for these guys to drive me in."
Merrifield went back to work in the third inning with a two-out grounder again off Goodrum's glove for a single. Merrifield promptly stole second. And then, with the Tigers in a shift and no one near the third-base bag, Merrifield stole third with left-hander Matthew Boyd standing helpless on the mound with the baseball in his hand.
Moments later, Jorge Soler, who had walked, also stole second base with Boyd holding the ball as the Tigers, still in the shift, had no one near second base.
Merrifield and Soler both scored on Moustakas' double.
"There were two outs, and [Boyd] got two strikes relatively quick," Merrifield said. "Boyd did a better job of holding me on that at-bat. But [the count] got to 3-2, I saw they were shifted way over, and I took third with the mindset that if I'm on third, that slider he throws, it might be in the back of his head, 'OK I can't bounce this pitch.'
"Then he left it up, and Moose put a barrel on it. That was my plan."
That two-run double put the Royals up 3-0, all they would need.