Soler homers twice as KC wins 6th straight

KANSAS CITY — For almost all of the first half, Jorge Soler searched for the power and production that led to his monster year in 2019, the one where he led the American League in home runs with 48 and set a Royals record for homers in a season.

He might have found an answer in the past week.

With home runs in his first two at-bats, Soler powered the Royals to a 4-3 victory over the White Sox in Monday night’s series opener at Kauffman Stadium, pushing Kansas City to its sixth straight win.

Soler’s homer on July 9 in Cleveland snapped a 23-game drought (74 at-bats), the longest of his career. Since then, he has homered seven times in 11 games — including back-to-back two-homer games. Soler became the fifth player in Royals history with back-to-back multihomer games, joining Salvador Perez earlier this season, Mike Sweeney in 2005, Darrell Porter in 1977 and Ed Kirkpatrick in 1969.

On Monday, he hammered a Statcast-projected 449-foot homer on the first pitch he saw from Dallas Keuchel to straightaway center field to put the Royals on the board in the second inning. In the fourth, he went down 0-2 against Keuchel and then connected on a cutter in the middle, putting it over the left-center-field fence.

This is the Jorge Soler the Royals want and need in their lineup. There’s no question he changes the look and production of the offense with his monster swing. And it’s also not a surprise that it’s coinciding with wins, along with the starting pitching the Royals have received over the past week.

On Monday, starter Mike Minor allowed two runs in six innings, striking out seven with two walks. He cruised through five innings before facing trouble in the sixth, but the veteran lefty minimized the damage by getting a flyout and two swinging strikeouts against the middle of the White Sox order.