Witt leads Royals past Phillies for seventh straight victory

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Saturday, August 5, 2023

PHILADELPHIA -- - Bobby Witt Jr. homered and stole a base, Michael Massey also went deep and the Kansas City Royals won their seventh straight game with a 7-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.

Witt became the first player in MLB history with at least 20 home runs and 30 stolen bases in each of his first two seasons.

"That's an amazing accomplishment," Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. "I feel really honored and privileged to witness that. He is showing the tools that he has."

Dairon Blanco drove in three runs and stole three bases for Kansas City. The Royals are in last place in the AL Central and have the second-fewest wins in baseball but followed three-game home sweeps of the Mets and AL Central-leading Twins with a series-opening defeat at defending NL champ Philadelphia for their longest winning streak since July 2017.

"Eye opener for everyone," Witt said. "Shows you what we're capable of doing. Trust our process, trust each other and go out and have fun."

Nick Castellanos homered for the Phillies, who opened a 10-game homestand. Philadelphia began play holding the second wild-card spot in a tightly bunched playoff race.

Witt hit his 20th homer of the season to tie the game at 2 in the third, driving an 85 mph cutter from Aaron Nola (9-8) into the seats in left. He also stole second after singling in the fifth, his 32nd steal, before getting caught trying to swipe third later in the inning. He is batting .531 with four homers, 15 RBI and four steals during the Royals' winning streak.

"It's just motivation to keep getting better," he said of the milestone.

Blanco broke a 4-all tie in the sixth with a one-out, two-run single off reliever Yunior Marte after Nola managed just one out in the inning.

Nola was charged with five runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander tied Curt Schilling for seventh all-time in Phillies starts with his 226th outing.

Jordan Lyles (3-12) gave up five runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings but earned the victory.

Austin Cox pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save.

"I don't think our record is indicative of our talent," Quatraro said. "We played some bad baseball early in the year. They've worked and worked. It's nice to see them get rewarded with some wins."


Following a social media push, Phillies fans gave slumping star Trea Turner a standing ovation before each at-bat. Turner signed an 11-year, $300 million deal in the offseason but entered hitting .235 with 10 home runs and batted .103 on Philadelphia's seven-game road trip, prompting manager Rob Thomson to drop him to eighth in the batting order. After lining out and popping out in his first two at-bats, Turner pulled Philadelphia within 6-5 with an RBI single in the sixth that drew raucous cheers from the crowd of 36,510. He grounded into a fielder's choice in his final at-bat in the eighth.

"The fans have my back and they're showing up for me. It's pretty cool to see," Turner said.


The Royals' streak of 14 consecutive steals without getting caught was snapped in the fifth when Witt was caught, but Kansas City upped its season total to 103 with four stolen bases. They entered third in the AL in the category.


This is the Royals' longest streak since winning nine in a row from July 19-28, 2017. They have outscored their opponents 47-26, and Kansas City starters have a 2.59 ERA over the stretch. Kansas City had lost 29 of 33 series before their winning streak.


Counting Friday, Philadelphia will play 33 of its final 53 games at home. They dropped to 28-21 at Citizens Bank Park.


Royals: Placed RHP Taylor Clarke (right elbow inflammation) on the 15-day IL and recalled RHP James McArthur from Triple-A Omaha.


Royals RHP Alec Marsh (0-5, 6.75) opposes Phillies LHP Cristopher Sánchez (0-3, 2.66) in the second contest of the three-game set on Saturday night.


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP--Sports

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