Whit Merrifield had 13 three-hit games for the KC Royals in 2019, proving once again that he is deserving of the nickname “Three Hit Whit.” But his three hits in a June game against Seattle didn’t tell the whole story of a Whit-powered win.
Midwest KC Royals’ fans who stayed up late to watch the club’s June 18th contest at Seattle were likely tired the next morning, but theirs was undoubtedly a “happy” kind of tired. The Royals, powered by Whit Merrifield’s big bat, dominated the Mariners in a 9-0 win that marked Kansas City’s 25th win of the season.
The Royals were seeking their third win in a row after beating Minnesota and then Seattle. For his part, Merrifield had been conspicuously quiet — he was 2 for 9 in those victories, leaving KC to rely on others for most of the production.
Merrifield, though, is not a player to be held down long, a point he proved to the Mariners in KC’s lopsided, nine-run win. The evidence came early and often.
Merrifield’s night started with a lead-off single in the first; his hit facilitated the Royals’ first run, as he scored on a single by Alex Gordon. It was merely a sign of things to come.
After flying out in the third, Merrifield came to the plate in the fourth with Nicky Lopez and Bill Hamilton on base and the Royals holding a 3-0 lead. He worked Yusei Kikuchi to a 3-1 count, then blasted his fifth pitch to deep left for a three-run homer that doubled KC’s lead.
Merrifield drove in his fourth run of the game with a sacrifice fly on a 1-2 pitch from Matt Festa in the sixth.
He wasn’t done.
In precisely the same manner as he had punished Kikuchi in the fourth, Merrifield worked Jesse Biddle to 3-1, then hammered Biddle’s fifth offering out for his second homer of the game, and his fifth and sixth RBI’s. The six-run contribution accounted for most of the Royals’ runs, and the run he scored in the first inning gave him shares in seven of the club’s nine.
Not to be forgotten, Homer Bailey started for KC and pitched 7.2 scoreless innings; Jorge Lopez and Kevin McCarthy shut the Mariners down the rest of the way. But it was “Three Hit Whit” who once again got his three hits to power the Royals offensively, making the game the top Royal moment of June.
June was, unfortunately, one of many losing months for the KC Royals in 2019. But Nicky Lopez, Bobb Witt Jr., Hunter Dozier and Whit Merrifield led the way in giving fans some exciting June moments.