Hernández strikes out eight; Royals batter Cubs 9-1

Sports

Kansas City Royals’ Whit Merrifield watches his sacrifice fly to Chicago Cubs left fielder Ian Happ in the fourth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO — Andrew Benintendi drove in three runs, and the Kansas City Royals beat the sliding Chicago Cubs 9-1 on Sunday for a sweep of their weekend series.

It was Chicago’s franchise-record 13th consecutive loss at Wrigley Field.

Benintendi and Carlos Santana each had three hits in Kansas City’s sixth win in seven games. Hunter Dozier doubled and drove in two runs.

Royals right-hander Carlos Hernández (4-1) struck out a career-high eight in seven innings, also a career best. He allowed one run and four hits.

Frank Schwindel had two hits for the Cubs, who have dropped 18 of 22 since trading away stars Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Báez and Craig Kimbrel.

“Listen, it’s no fun to lose,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “It’s like, nobody is having a good time.”

Benintendi helped Kansas City get off to a fast start. He singled, advanced on second baseman Matt Duffy’s error and scored on Dozier’s single in the second. He added a two-run double in the third against Alec Mills (5-6).

“I wish I knew,” Whit Merrifield said of the 55-68 Royals’ recent success. “If we all knew, we would have been doing this in April and continued it through the course of the year. That’s how it goes sometimes.”

Merrifield’s sacrifice fly and Nicky Lopez’s single extended the lead to 5-0 in the fourth.

The Cubs got one back in the bottom half, with some help from the Royals. Center fielder Michael A. Taylor and right fielder Dozier misplayed Ian Happ’s fly ball into a ground-rule double. Both outfielders pursued the ball before it dropped between them. Happ scored on Duffy’s single.

Mills was charged with seven runs, six earned, and 11 hits in four-plus innings.

“You gotta do what you gotta do,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “You pull into this park and see the flags like they were today, elevating is not the secret. It’s doing exactly what they did. That was a relentless offensive attack, guys moving runners over.”

“We just want to win,” Mills said. “It’s obviously not a fun clubhouse after games right now.”

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