Austin Schuster – 23 Sports

If there was any doubt of the Royals continuing their win streak through their 3-game weekend set with Pittsburgh, it sure didn’t last long. KC extended its win streak to six games with a 3-game sweep of the Pirates this weekend at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals delivered impressive pitching performances in all 3 games, and the offense truly came alive as well, as the team has now scored 44 runs during its current win streak.

The weekend was highlighted by the return of Salvador Perez from the injured list.

On a night in which the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were remembered on their 19th anniversary, Friday night would ultimately prove to be the closest game of the series. Rookie lefty Kris Bubic tossed the best start of his career, going 5 innings, allowing only an RBI double to Jacob Stallings in the 4th inning, to earn his first career Major League victory. Adalberto Mondesi started the scoring with his third home run of the year in the first inning. In the bottom of the third, Mondesi was driven in by Maikel Franco, and Perez scored on a wild pitch by Pirates starter Steven Brault to make it 3-0.

Franco recorded his second RBI of the night in the bottom of the seventh when he singled home Mondesi to make it 4-1. Scott Barlow was brought in to pitch the eighth inning for Kansas City, and he gave up a two-run shot to Josh Bell, cutting the Royals’ lead to 4-3. However, Greg Holland pitched the ninth inning and retired all 3 batters to record his fourth save and preserve Kansas City’s 4-3 victory. 

Carlos Hernandez made his first career start for the boys in blue on Saturday, and he was effective in pitching 3 innings, allowing only 3 runs. He did give up home runs to Bell, Bryan Reynolds, and Adam Frazier, but he was helped out by Kyle Zimmer, who pitched 2.1 innings of relief to earn the victory the night before his birthday, as well as Jesse Hahn, Josh Staumont, Barlow, and Holland closing out the game.

Whit Merrifield led off for the Royals with his 9th homer of the year, and Mondesi continued his hot streak with a two-run shot, his 4th of the year, in the 3rd inning to tie the game at three. Then, in the bottom of the 5th, Kansas City “kept the line moving” with RBI singles from Perez and Alex Gordon, and a sacrifice fly by Edward Olivares to make it 6-3 Royals. Nicky Lopez capped the scoring in the 7th with a bases-loaded walk, and the Royals won 7-4, clinching the series. During the game, Mondesi became just the 2nd Major League player since 1900 to record a home run and a steal in 3 consecutive games.

Sunday’s series finale was perfect in every facet for the Royals. Brad Keller was absolutely superb, pitching a complete game shutout, allowing only 5 hits and one walk. Pittsburgh starter Chad Kuhl never found his groove, allowing 9 earned runs without making it through the third inning. Perez and Hunter Dozier went deep to aid the blowout win.

The scoring started in the 1st, with a ground ball by Franco getting booted by third baseman J.T. Riddle, scoring Merrifield. Gordon then scored Perez on a groundout, and both Franco and Dozier scored on a wild pitch by Kuhl, making it 4-0 Royals in the first inning. Nick Heath and Lopez both recorded bases-loaded walks in the 3rd, and Merrifield and Perez recorded RBI singles. Dozier’s homer in the sixth capped the scoring, and the Royals finished off the 3-game sweep with a resounding 11-0 win. The Royals improved to 20-28 with the impressive series.

Following an off-day on Monday, the Royals will head to Detroit for a short 2-game series with the Tigers at Comerica Park. Danny Duffy will get the start Tuesday night at 6:10 against lefty Matthew Boyd, while Brady Singer will start Wednesday night at 6:10, fresh off taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning on Thursday night in Cleveland. He will be opposed by lefty Tarik Skubal.

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