KANSAS CITY — Something has gotten into these Royals.
A strong pitching performance by left-hander Danny Duffy and a four-run two-out rally in the fifth inning sent the Royals rolled to a 7-5 win over the White Sox on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals are 5-1 since the All-Star break and they also have their first winning homestand of the season with back-to-back series victories over the Tigers and White Sox.
“Things are clicking for us,” All-Star second baseman Whit Merrifield said. “Pitching well. Hitting well. Playing good defense. Finding ways to win games that we didn’t find how to do early on. That’s the goal.”
Duffy went six innings and he gave up six hits and two runs to go with no walks and five strikeouts. After Wily Peralta gave up a three-run homer in the ninth, closer Ian Kennedy came on to get the final out for his 15th save.
“We’re getting to that point where we’re gaining the confidence again,” Duffy said. “Guys are playing great. The offense is doing a great job of going up there every time and having good at-bats, doing their job. We’re just kind of following them. As a staff just trying to take the baton and run with it.”
The only blemish on Duffy’s night was a two-run home run he yielded to former Royals infielder Ryan Goins in the sixth inning. Goins jumped on a first-pitch four-seamer and he drove it into the right-field bullpen for his first home run since Sept. 25, 2017.
With two out in the fifth, Merrifield dumped a single into right field.
Then, White Sox starter Ivan Nova lost the strike zone. Nova walked the next three hitters, forcing in a run on the third walk to Hunter Dozier. That made it 3-0.
Jorge Soler, who drove in a run in the first inning, then singled in two more. Nicky Lopez followed with another RBI hit and it was 6-0.
Merrifield reached base five times on the night, including three singles to lift his average to .316.
“I found a couple holes,” Merrifield said.
Merrifield, who has a 23-game on-base streak, now has a 15-game hitting streak, the longest active one in MLB. But the man who earlier this season had a 31-game hitting streak isn’t paying attention to this one yet.
“Nah, we got a ways to go before I look at that,” Merrifield said. “I’m seeing the ball well and the swing feels good. I have some good swing thoughts. Just sticking with that.”
Royals manager Ned Yost is running out of adjectives for Merrifield.
“Another great day for him,” Yost said. “It’s just what he’s been doing. He’s been as consistent as anyone in Major League Baseball the last couple of years with his performance day in and day out.”