Royals' young guns deliver in weekend sweep of Baltimore
Kansas City - When the calendar flips to September every year, baseball teams hope to be in the midst of a division race. When the sun rose on Saturday and calendars turned to September, the Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles were in a race in the standings. It just happens that instead of being in a division race, they were in a battle to the bottom. With both the Orioles (40-94) and the Royals (42-91) in the beginning of full-fledged youth movements, they entered the weekend as the two worst teams in baseball. The three game set potentially would decide which club will own the first overall pick in the annual Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft in June.
Royals rookie Brad Keller hurled eight dominant innings while allowing just two runs on four hits, as Kansas City blew out Baltimore 9-2. A trio of rookies, first baseman Ryan O’Hearn (3-5 HR 4RBI), third baseman Hunter Dozier (2-4 2 RBI), and catcher Cam Gallagher (2-3 HR), backed Keller’s stellar outing.
Whit Merrifield blasted a two run walk off home run to give the Royals a 5-4 win over the Orioles on Saturday. Rookie right-hander Heath Fillmyer worked in and out of traffic all night long, as he allowed nine hits across seven innings, but only two runs.
Sunday featured another fantastic starting pitching performance for the Royals by a rookie. Jorge Lopez went seven strong innings, permitting just one run on five hits while striking out eight, powering the Royals to a 9-1 win. Six of the nine Kansas City batters had an RBI, as the offense connected for 14 hits and a blowout win. The three game sweep by these Royals is an amazing sign for the youth movement that has begun in Kansas City, as rookies and young players have been the main drivers of the five game winning streak that the Royals will ride into Cleveland on Monday.