MJ Melendez’s slam gets Royals rolling past Dodgers

MJ Melendez capped a 12-pitch at-bat with his first career grand slam and Seth Lugo tossed six strong innings as the visiting Kansas City Royals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-2 on Saturday night.

Lugo (10-2) reached double digits in wins for the first time in his nine-year career while yielding two runs on six hits. John Schreiber, Sam Long and Nick Anderson combined for three scoreless innings to help the Royals even the three-game series at a game apiece.

Dodgers starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto exited the game after two innings due to triceps tightness. The right-hander threw 28 pitches and was replaced by Michael Grove to start the third inning.

Gavin Lux drove in both runs for Los Angeles, which has lost three of its last four games. Teoscar Hernandez added a pair of singles.

Trailing 2-1 with one out in the sixth inning, Kansas City loaded the bases with three consecutive walks against Blake Treinen (2-1).

After Adam Frazier struck out, Melendez fouled off six two-strike pitches and took a ball during his epic at-bat before depositing Treinen’s 3-2 offering into the right field seats.

Melendez entered the game mired in a 4-for-41 slump before hitting the 395-foot homer, his eighth this season.

Treinen had not allowed a run this season, counting 13 scoreless frames since making his season debut on May 5.

Kansas City broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning when Vinnie Pasquantino led off with a single, went to third on Freddy Fermin’s one-out double, and scored on Nick Loftin’s groundout.

The Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the fourth and moved ahead on Lux’s two-run single.

Yamamoto’s early departure forced the Dodgers to use five relievers to cover the final seven innings.

Kansas City added to its lead with two runs in the seventh inning against Anthony Banda. Bobby Witt Jr. singled in a run after Garrett Hampson hit a leadoff triple and Maikel Garcia walked.

Witt and Garcia followed with a double steal, Pasquantino struck out, and Garcia scored on Nelson Velazquez’s sacrifice fly.

Melendez finished 2-for-4. Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez sat out due to a right knee injury and is listed as day-to-day after undergoing an MRI that revealed no structural damage.

The Royals are visiting Dodger Stadium for the first time since 2017.