KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Brad Keller tossed seven strong innings and rookie Vinnie Pasquantino homered and drove in a pair of runs as the Kansas City Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 3-1 Monday in the opener of a split doubleheader.
Injured Royals infielder Whit Merrifield didn’t play, ending his consecutive games streak at a franchise-record 553 — it dated to June 24, 2018, and was the longest active string in the majors.
“It’s been a great run for Whit,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “It’s just been impressive the way he’s been able to go about it.”
Merrifield exited Sunday’s game with right toe discomfort. He was fitted with a walking boot and is expected to be placed on the injured list due to a bone bruise and ligament swelling.
“I’ve been lucky … in some instances, but I’ve put myself in a good position to play every day mentality-wise. I showed up to play no matter the circumstance. It’s been a long run and I’m proud of it,” he said.
Keller (5-9) permitted only three singles while fanning eight. He has won three straight starts and four of his last five.
“I felt pretty good out there,” Keller said. “I had good command with my fastball and my slider. I tried to run with it as long as I could. Whenever you get a good feel for the fastball you can go after guys, especially on a hot day like today. I didn’t want the defense to stand out there too long. Obviously, strike one was really important today.”
Said Matheny: “That’s two times these guys have seen him and he was really sharp and aggressive.”
“We talk about it all the time. It’s pitching with aggressiveness, trusting the fact that his stuff is better than average. His changeup was good at times. His slider was good to get swings and misses. He needs days…