At some point, the Royals figured they would have to break out of an early-season slump after scoring only five runs in three games in Cleveland to open the 2020 season.
And the Royals did so with authority on Monday night at Comerica Park, blasting six home runs, tying a club record, in a 14-6 victory over the Tigers. Kansas City evened its record at 2-2.
Third baseman Maikel Franco, who the Royals signed as a free agent this past offseason, belted his first two home runs for the club — a solo shot in the second inning and a three-run jack in the fourth.
Franco’s night was one of many offensive highlights for the Royals:
• Leadoff hitter Whit Merrifield nearly hit for the cycle. He singled in the first, hit a two-run homer in the third and doubled in the fourth.
• Ryan O’Hearn had a two-run single and a double in his return from the injured list.
• Salvador Perez hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot in the third.
• Jorge Soler, inserted into the No. 2 spot in the order, hit an opposite-field, two-run homer in the fifth.
• Brett Phillips hit a two-run home run, his first of the season, in the ninth.
The only concerning news was regarding left-hander Foster Griffin, who made his Major League debut in relief of starter Mike Montgomery.
Griffin, who also celebrated his 25th birthday Monday, pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings before leaving the game, grimacing and holding his left arm. The Royals later announced that he sustained a left forearm strain.
However, Griffin earned the victory and became the third pitcher since 1901 to win his Major League debut on his birthday, joining Edwin Jackson (Sept. 9, 2003) and Zach Day (June 15, 2002).