SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Whit Merrifield broke a 2-2 tie with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly and the Kansas City Royals edged the San Francisco Giants 3-2 on Wednesday to avoid a three-game sweep.
Andrew Benintendi led off the inning with a pinch-hit double off Giants reliever John Brebbia. Nicky Lopez moved him to third on a sacrifice bunt and Merrifield brought him home.
“That’s kind of how you’d want to draw up an inning like that,” Benintendi said. “Nicky laid down a great bunt and Whit got the job done with the sac fly.”
Added Royals manager Mike Matheny: “It’s just textbook baseball. It was beautiful to watch.”
Brandon Belt homered for the Giants, whose five-game winning streak ended.
Kansas City jumped ahead in the first inning when San Francisco shortstop Brandon Crawford, a four-time Gold Glove winner, made a rare fielding error on a slow chopper by MJ Melendez, allowing two runs to score.
“(Crawford) is such an excellent defender most of the time,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “I think that ball just kind of jumped up on him a little bit. It’s part of the game. It happens. It’s human error.”
Belt answered with a solo home run to right-center in the fourth, his fifth of the season and first since April 20. Curt Casali tied the game at 2 with a sacrifice fly later in the fourth.
Jose Cuas (1-0) entered with one out in the seventh and retired three batters to earn his first career victory. The 27-year-old converted infielder had toiled in the minors for six years before making his big-league debut earlier this season.
“It’s amazing,” Cuas said. “It’s more than I’ve ever dreamed of. I can’t really tell you I’ve dreamed of this moment because I didn’t get this far in my dream. But it’s amazing. I’m soaking every second of it I can and every day for me is just a dream come true.”
Scott Barlow recorded the last five outs for his seventh save in eight opportunities as Kansas City snapped a four-game losing streak.
Brebbia (3-1) suffered his first loss since July 18, 2021 as the Giants finished their longest homestand of the season at 6-3.
San Francisco went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.
Royals: Open a three-game series at Oakland on Friday. The Royals will play six of their next nine games against the Athletics.