Melendez hits grand slam on 12th pitch, Royals beat Dodgers 7-2 as Yamamoto leaves early

Kansas City Royals' MJ Melendez follows through for a grand slam during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — MJ Melendez hit a grand slam to conclude a 12-pitch at-bat, Seth Lugo became the AL’s first 10-game winner and the Kansas City Royals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-2 Saturday night as Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s start was cut short after two innings due to triceps tightness.

Kansas City loaded the bases on three straight walks by Blake Treinen. Melendez fouled off six straight pitches with a 2-2 count, but worked the count full when Treinen threw a cutter inside.

Treinen went to the cutter again on the next pitch, but it was slightly elevated inside the strike zone as Melendez drove it over the right-field wall for his first career grand slam and a 5-2 lead. Kansas City had dropped five of six coming in.

According to Baseball Reference, it is only the second time since 1970 there has been a grand slam on a full count with at least 12 pitches in the at-bat. In 2018, Mookie Betts cleared the bases for Boston on the 13th pitch against Toronto’s J.A. Happ.

Lugo (10-2) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings. The right-hander — who also leads the AL in innings (97 1/3) and is fifth in ERA (2.40) — struck out four and walked one to join Philadelphia’s Ranger Suárez as the only pitchers in the majors with 10 wins.

Yamamoto, who had thrown over 100 pitches in four consecutive starts going into Saturday, had his scheduled start on Thursday against Texas pushed back for extra rest.

The right-hander threw only 14 strikes on 28 pitches against the Royals. He allowed one hit and one walk with one strikeout.

Gavin Lux had a two-run single with the bases loaded in the fourth gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. Los Angeles has lost three of four.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: C Salvador Perez was out of the lineup due to right knee inflammation after leaving during the eighth inning of Friday’s game. An MRI didn’t show anything structurally wrong. “The fact that he’s day to day and not going on the IL is a big help for us,” manager Matt Quatraro said.

Dodgers: 3B Max Muncy (right oblique strain) is taking another week off from swinging and is just fielding grounders and running. Manager Dave Roberts said “I don’t know a timeline but it is even slower than we all expected.”

UP NEXT

The teams wrap up their series Sunday afternoon. Dodgers RHP Tyler Glasnow (6-5, 3.24) is 3-0 in day games. Royals RHP Brady Singer (4-3, 3.30) allowed seven runs (six earned) in his last start on June 11 against the Yankees.

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