The story Wednesday was all about Whit Merrifield’s bunt single in the seventh inning to break George Brett’s franchise record hitting streak. The at bat did not end up being Whit’s last one but it felt like it might be at the time. Whit noticed that Mariners’ third baseman Ryon Healy showed playing in before moving back on the pitch. That opened up the bunt opportunity for Whit who said he used to bunt a lot when he was young since he couldn’t drive the ball.
The bullpen had one of its best games of the season. They allowed just one run over six innings. The one run was the ninth inning game winning two out home run off Brad Boxberger by Mitch Haniger.
Whit Merrifield [1-for-4, RBI, BB, SB, CS]
Whit bunted for a base hit in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to 31 games breaking George Brett’s franchise record.
Adalberto Mondesi [2-for-4, R, BB, K, 2 SB, CS]
Mondesi had two more hits tonight. He’s seeing the ball well right now.
Jorge Soler [2-for-4, R, 2 RBI, 2 K, HR]
Soler hit a hard single to left with two outs in the first inning to score Mondesi and tie the game 1-1. Soler then hit a 454 foot home run to left center in the third. That’s over the fountains in left centerfield. When the opponent tries to throw a fastball by him they pay. Why they don’t stick to breaking balls down and away I can’t understand. In his last at bat in the eighth, Soler watched two breaking balls go down and away out of the zone for balls after falling behind in the count 0-1. Although he ultimately struck out, Soler showed some improvement not flailing at those two pitches.
Hunter Dozier [1-for-4, R, RBI, HR]
Dozier hit a slider 453 feet to left for a home tun in the second. He continues to hit the ball hard. He made an excellent play defensively in the sixth inning going to the ground to his left and then getting up and throwing out Ryan Healy at first base. He has played solid defense all season to this point. Once his hard hits start falling he’s going to start having a lot of fun.
Terrance Gore [3-for-4, R, RBI, 2B, 3B, 2 SB]
Gore had an outstanding game tonight. It was his first start of the year. He started in left for Alex Gordon. The way he played in this game should give Ned Yost confidence in playing him more often.
Gore had a soft infield single down the third base line in the second inning and then stole second. He tripled in the seventh and scored on Whit’s record-breaking bunt. Gore then doubled with two outs in the ninth down 6-5.
Gore’s defense was terrific. He sprinted to the line and made a diving catch in the third to save at least one run on a ball hit by Jay Bruce. In the sixth he did the same to Dee Gordon but this time in the right-center gap.
Heath Fillmyer [L, 27 GS, 3 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 75 P, 41 S (55%), 2.67 WHIP]
Fillmyer struggled with his control, particularly in the third inning. Ned Yost went to the mound to talk with him instead of pitching coach Cal Eldred after Fillmyer loaded the bases on a hit batter and two walks. He got out of the inning only allowing two runs.
Fillmyer then loaded the bases again in the fourth with nobody out. Ned replaced him with Scott Barlow.
Fillmyer threw 55% of his pitches for strikes in his three innings. It will be interesting to see if the Royals continue to pitch him in the rotation or send him back down to Omaha.
Scott Barlow [2 IP, H, K, 20 P, 13 S (65%), 0.50 WHIP]
Barlow entered in the fourth with the bases loaded and no outs. He allowed a hit to left to the first batter he faced allowing two runs to score. After that he settled down and was really good. That hit was the only hit he allowed in his two innings.
Ian Kennedy [2 IP, H, 2 K, 34 P, 19 S (56%), 0.50 WHIP]
Kennedy pitched well over two scoreless innings allowing just one hit and striking out two.
Jake Diekman [IP, BB, 2 K, 26 P, 17 S (65%), 1.00 WHIP]
Diekman struck out two batters in a scoreless eighth inning.
Brad Boxberger [L, IP, 3 H, R, ER, K, 21 P, 16 S (76%), 3.00 WHIP]
Boxberger pitched well to the first two batters he faced in the ninth before giving up a home run to right field to Mitch Hannover. He allowed a couple more hits after that but just the one run in the inning. Boxberger’s ERA climbed to 8.44 on the season. Don’t give up on him yet but he might be the next one to be removed from the pitching staff.