Kansas City Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. has generated some memorable nights in his young career. On Friday, Witt added another highlight to his resumé as he busted out of a prolonged slump.
Witt fueled the Royals’ comeback efforts in a 12-10 loss to the Washington Nationals. Witt collected four hits, including two home runs in the game. He was a triple shy of the cycle as he snapped an 11-for-49 (.224 average) stretch over his last 12 games.
“I am just trying to see every pitch and whatever is thrown over the plate,” Witt said. “Just looking for something in the zone and be able to put a good swing on it. Not chase or swing and miss. Just trying to be there, be on time and drive the ball.”
Royals Hall of Famer George Brett was the last player to hit for the cycle. Brett recorded the milestone against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 25, 1990.
Despite falling short of the cycle, Witt did record some individual accolades. He set a career-high with five RBIs in a game. He also turned in his second-career multi-home run effort.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) May 27, 2023
Witt hit the first home run in the sixth inning. He drilled a solo blast that traveled 416 feet into the left-field seats. An inning later, Witt hit a three-run homer off Nationals reliever Erasmo Ramirez.
“I think anybody can speak for Bobby’s game. It’s pretty fun to watch — power, speed, he’s got it all,” Royals outfielder Drew Waters said.
Witt finished 4 for 5 on the night. Royals captain Salvador Perez drove in three runs and has now hit safely in 26 of his last 34 games.
The Royals, though, failed to capitalize on Witt’s big night. KC surrendered 12 runs as Washington took advantage of an eight-run sixth inning. Royals starter Jordan Lyles pitched five innings but faltered late in his outing. He allowed five runs on six hits and issued three walks.
Royals execute double steal in fourth inning
The Royals added an offensive wrinkle against the Nationals. In the fourth inning, KC benefited from a double steal that led to a run. Witt began the inning with a double. Later, MJ Melendez walked to put runners in scoring position.
— Bally Sports Kansas City (@BallySportsKC) May 27, 2023
Melendez stole second base and advanced to third on the play. It was his first steal this season and third of his career. Witt now has 15 steals on the season to rank fourth in the majors.
“I was just timing up a couple of pitches,” Witt said. “I thought the time was right, and so I was able to kind of get that. MJ followed along and got a bag too. It was good.”
Lyles tagged in disastrous sixth inning
The Nationals sent 12 batters to the plate in the sixth inning. They scored eight runs as Jordan Lyles struggled to get through the lineup a third time. Lyles issued a walk to Lane Thomas and it served as the catalyst for the big frame.
Washington rattled off two doubles, another walk and a three-run homer to chase Lyles from the game. Lyles, who allowed one run through four innings, was saddled with five earned runs on six hits during his start.
However, the Nationals weren’t done. They tattooed Josh Staumont in relief as he struggled to limit the damage. Staumont allowed four earned runs on three hits. Washington seized control and held a 9-2 lead when the dust settled.
“It got away from us really quick,” Lyles said. “It was tough to get three outs in that sixth inning for us.”
Luis Garcia joins exclusive franchise club
It was a hallmark night for Nationals second baseman Luis Garcia. He became the third player in franchise history to record a six-hit game. He joined Anthony Rendon and Rondell White as the lone players to collect six hits in a game.
Garcia was 6 for six and had four singles and two doubles. He drove in two runs and scored three of his own. In the sixth inning, Garcia became the 12th Nationals player to have two extra-base hits in the same inning. Furthermore, Garcia joined Hall of Famers Vladimir Guerrero and Tim Raines as the only players with two doubles in the same inning in franchise history.