MJ Melendez’s grand slam fuels Royals offense in Saturday’s win over the Dodgers

MJ Melendez just wouldn’t quit.

In the sixth inning, the Kansas City Royals outfielder had seen everything from Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Blake Treinen.

During a 12-pitch at-bat, Melendez fouled off a steady diet of cutters. It was clear the Dodgers wanted him to chase at the top of the zone. According to Statcast, Melendez has registered a 47% whiff rate against right-handers atop the zone.

And Treinen used his cutter as bait. The Dodgers veteran threw nine cutters to Melendez but left the final one too far over the plate.

Melendez didn’t miss it. He hit a grand slam to propel the Royals to a 7-2 victory at Dodger Stadium.

The Royals improved to 41-31 ahead of Sunday’s series finale.

While Melendez will draw the headlines, the Royals leaned on veteran starter Seth Lugo to gain a much-needed win.

Lugo shined as he allowed two earned runs across six innings. He initially dueled with Dodgers star Yoshinobu Yamamoto early in the game. However, Yamamoto exited with right triceps tightness in the third inning.

The Dodgers were limited for much of the night. In the fourth inning, Los Angeles scored two runs to take a short-lived lead. Dodgers second baseman Gavin Lux hit a two-run single with the bases loaded.

Lugo would quickly rebound. After the Royals’ offensive outburst in the sixth, Lugo produced a key shutdown frame. He worked around a one-out double as the Royals maintained their momentum in the late innings.

KC would add two runs in the seventh. Royals star Bobby Witt Jr. recorded his 51st RBI and 20th stolen base in the frame.

The Dodgers challenged the Royals bullpen down the stretch. However, KC relievers Sam Long and Nick Anderson nailed down the victory.

Missed previous Royals coverage?

Game 1: Bobby Witt Jr. celebrates 24th birthday as Royals fall 4-3 to Dodgers

Family Ties: Royals bench coach Paul Hoover inspired by strength of deaf parents

Here are more notables from Saturday’s game:

Austin Nola recalled from Triple-A Omaha

The Royals added some catching depth prior to Saturday’s game. It was needed as Royals captain Salvador Perez is dealing with right knee discomfort.

Perez was sore after sustaining the injury on Friday night. The Royals listed him as day-to-day and Perez was available to pinch hit on Saturday.

Nola was acquired in spring training by the Royals. He is a veteran catcher with five years of experience. He last played with the San Diego Padres in 2023.

This season, Nola has appeared in 20 games with the Omaha Storm Chasers. In a corresponding move, the Royals optioned relief pitcher Anthony Veneziano back to the minor leagues.

Next on the KC Royals schedule

The Royals conclude their three-game series against the Dodgers on Sunday.

Royals right-hander Brady Singer will start on Father’s Day at Dodger Stadium. Singer is 4-3 with a 3.30 ERA this season. In his last outing, he allowed six earned runs in a home loss against the New York Yankees.

The Dodgers will send veteran Tyler Glasnow to the hill. The right-hander is 6-5 with a 3.24 ERA in 14 starts.

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