DENVER (AP) — Andrew Benintendi hit a two-run homer and an RBI triple, Hunter Dozier had his first career five-hit game and the Kansas City Royals broke out of their offensive funk in a 14-10 victory over the bumbling Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
Ryan O’Hearn also homered, Michael A. Taylor had three hits and drove in two, and Bobby Witt Jr. delivered a two-run triple for the Royals, who entered the night with the second fewest runs in the majors.
“It feels good. We’ve been waiting for that for a while now,” said Benintendi, who finished a double shy of the cycle. “You’ve got to do it a few times in a row to say you’re going, but it’s good start to the series.”
Brendan Rodgers hit a two-run homer, doubled twice and drove in four, and Sam Hilliard homered for the Rockies in their fifth straight loss. Kyle Freeland (1-4) allowed a career-high 12 of Kansas City’s 18 hits over 4 1/3 innings, and Colorado gave up six unearned runs.
“Missing locations,” Freeland said. “These starts happen. You never want them to happen, but sometimes it’s just not your night.”
Dylan Coleman (1-1) relieved Zack Greinke after Colorado got within 8-7 in the fifth and got out of the inning. Then Benintendi, who beat Kansas City in an arbitration hearing earlier in the day to earn an $8.5 million salary, hit his second triple of the season in a four-run seventh against Alex Colome to give Kansas City another cushion.
Dozier, who scored four runs and drove in one, upped his average to .277. Scott Barlow got the final four outs for his third save.
Defense, a trouble spot in Colorado’s 1-5 trip, flared again in the opener of a nine-game homestand.
Center fielder Yonathan Daza held onto the ball to allow a hung-up Carlos Santana to score in the third. Second baseman Rodgers’ fielding error led to a two-run fifth inning. And third baseman Ryan McMahon committed his seventh error, matching his total in 151 games last season, leading to four unearned runs in the seventh.
The Royals, playing at Coors Field for the first time since 2014, began single-homer-single-walk-single against Freeland a night after managing five singles in a 3-1 loss at Texas.
Benintendi crushed an 89-mph fastball over the heart of the plate 433 feet into the Kansas City bullpen for his second homer to make it 2-0.
The Rockies rallied for three in the second that included Jose Iglesias’ RBI single. Witt’s triple to right in a four-run third put Kansas City back ahead for good.
Freeland was charged with eight runs — six earned — in the Royals’ highest-scoring game of the season. It was a game that brought back memories for Matheny to his playing days at Coors Field pre-humidor.
“This is all I’ve ever experienced here,” Matheny said. “I just told the guys, ‘Buckle up.’”
Royals: Santanta (right ankle bursitis) was activated off the injured list and went 0 for 3 at cleanup as the DH in his first game since May 2. Matheny said they’ll work him back into playing first base soon. C Sebastian Rivero was optioned to Double-A Northwest Arkansas to open a roster spot.
Rockies: OF Kris Bryant (back) was in good spirits after hitting in the cage for the first time since he last played on April 25 due to back pain. Bryant, who could go on a minor league rehab assignment next week, received a cortisone injection in his sore back Monday. “I think I responded to it real well compared to any of the other shots I’ve had in the past in other areas,” Bryant said. … OF Connor Joe (non-COVID illness) was out of the lineup. … Daza stayed in after getting hit by a pitch on his left hand in the eighth.
Royals OF Whit Merrifield is scheduled to play in his 500th consecutive game Saturday night, extending the longest active streak in the majors. Rockies RHP German Marquez (0-3, 6.47 ERA) faces RHP Carlos Hernandez (0-2, 7.15).
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