In just the second Lopez versus Lopez starting-pitcher matchup in major league history, it was the Royals' Jorge Lopez who excelled as Kansas City defeated Pablo Lopez and the host Miami Marlins 3-0 on Friday night. Jorge Lopez (3-7) pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and no walks, striking out five.
Pablo Lopez -- no relation -- allowed eight hits, no walks and two runs in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six as his record dropped to 5-8. The Royals were also led by Whit Merrifield, Hunter Dozier and Ryan O'Hearn, all of whom went 2-for-4.
Merrifield, who had an RBI single and also threw a runner out at the plate, is batting .307. He is 6-for-9 in his past two games. Dozier hit a solo homer for his 25th dinger of the year, and O'Hearn had an RBI double.
Three Royals relievers each pitched one scoreless inning - Kevin McCarthy, Scott Barlow and Ian Kennedy (27th save). Kansas City opened the scoring in the third. Meibrys Viloria singled, advanced on Jorge Lopez's sacrifice bunt and scored on Merrifield's two-out, opposite-field hit to right.
Miami nearly tied the score in the fifth. With two outs and none on, catcher Bryan Holaday singled. Pablo Lopez followed with just his second double of the year, an opposite-field blast off the wall in left-center. Holaday tried to score from first and appeared set to do so when center fielder Brett Phillips overthrew the cutoff man. But Merrifield made a great catch backing up the play and fired a one-hop strike to catcher Viloria, who tagged out Holaday on a close play.
There was another defensive gem in the sixth as Lewis Brinson, making his first major league start in right field, threw out Merrifield at third on a throw that got there on the fly. Brinson is primarily a center fielder. The Royals took a 2-0 lead in the seventh. Alex Gordon hit a leadoff single and scored from first on O'Hearn's double off the wall in left. The ball took a long carom off the wall, center fielder Magneuris Sierra got to it and fired to shortstop Jon Berti, whose double-clutch prevented any chance of getting Gordon.
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