April has been a very difficult month for both Kansas City Royals fans and players. The bullpen struggled, starting pitching was inconsistent, and the bottom half of the lineup was not producing like it should be. That all changed on Friday night.
With No.1 starter Brad Keller in the game, the Royals played like a team on a mission. The first six Kansas City hitters reached base to begin the first inning. Whit Merrifield led things off with a hit down the first base line. Mondesi then added a triple that went into the right-center gap, bringing home the first run of the night.
Trotting to the batters box wearing a yellow armband with the name “Charlie” scribbled around it, Alex Gordon turned an accessory into an unforgettable moment a child battling cancer won’t ever let slip his mind.
Gordon took an 84 mph off-speed pitch and blasted it in the right-field seats which was the third run in three batters for the Royals. Emblazoning the yellow armband as he touched home plate, the 35-year-old outfielder paid tribute in the best way he possibly could.
Down in the order, the two most ineffective producers in Lucas Duda and Chris Owings added hits of their own. Duda walked in a run and Chris Owings batted in two more to extend the lead to 6-0.
Now that he had 6 runs of support, Keller continued his stellar start to the season with yet another quality start. Despite the solo home run he allowed to Tyler Naquin which ended the MLB’s longest homerless stretch at 54 innings, Keller held the Indians to three hits over 6.2 innings while striking out a career-high ten hitters. The Royals starter was relieved by Jake Diekman after throwing 118 pitches, the most by a Kansas City pitcher since James Shields in 2014.
Up next, the 3-10 Royals will try to start a new kind of streak when they take on the Indians tomorrow night at 7:15 ET (6:15 CT). Homer Bailey will face Jefry Rodriguez, who is making his first start of the season for Cleveland.