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.
Merrifield exited Sunday’s game with right toe discomfort. He was fitted with a walking boot and is expected to miss at least two weeks.
Keller (5-9) permitted only three singles while fanning eight. He has won three straight starts and four of his last five.
Scott Barlow earned his 14th save with a scoreless ninth.
Pasquantino lined the first pitch from Michael Pineda (2-4) into the right-field bullpen with two outs in the fourth to open the scoring. It was his second career homer, both against Pineda.
The first baseman broke a 1-all tie with a sixth-inning single that drove in fellow rookie Bobby Witt Jr., who had two hits and stole two bases.
Pineda worked into the sixth inning for only the second time in eight starts, allowing seven hits and three runs.
Riley Greene had two of Detroit’s four singles and scored their lone run in the sixth on Keller’s two-out wild pitch.
Monday’s doubleheader is the Tigers’ sixth of the season.
Royals LHP Daniel Lynch was re-instated from the injured list to start the second game. LHP Foster Griffin was designated for assignment.
RHP Beau Brieske (2-6, 4.16 ERA) takes the mound for Detroit on Tuesday against LHP Kris Bubic (1-6, 6.84).