MIAMI (AP) — Luis Arraez had three hits to raise his major league-leading batting average to .399, and the Miami Marlins beat the Kansas City Royals 9-6 on Monday night.
Arraez drove in two runs for the Marlins, who erased an early four-run deficit and won their fourth straight game. Bryan De La Cruz hit his eighth homer, while Jon Berti, Nick Fortes and Joey Wendle had two hits apiece.
After going hitless in four at-bats Friday against Oakland, Arraez is 10 for 13 over the last three games.
“It’s huge,” he said of his current average. “I have worked hard for this. But this is just starting. I am not complacent. I want to accomplish more.”
No big league player has batted .400 for a season since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941.
Braxton Garrett (2-2) overcame a difficult start and completed five innings of four-run ball. The left-hander gave up six hits and struck out six.
Arraez’s RBI single capped a four-run fourth and put Miami ahead 6-4. Berti hit a two-run triple and Jonathan Davis followed with an RBI double as the Marlins got five consecutive hits against reliever Mike Mayers with two outs.
Miami increased its lead to 9-4 on De La Cruz’s two-run drive against Josh Staumont in the sixth.
“Our offense always feels like they’re in the game,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “When you’re getting length out of the lineup from top to bottom, you feel really good about every single inning, whether it starts with Arraez at the top or whoever the six- or seven-hole hitter is at the bottom.”
The Royals narrowed the gap to 9-6 on Drew Waters’ run-scoring single off Steven Okert in the ninth. Dylan Floro relieved Okert with one out and retired Bobby Witt Jr. on a double-play grounder for his seventh save.
Carlos Hernández opened for the Royals and retired six straight. Mayers (1-1) took over in the third and allowed Davis’ RBI grounder and Arraez’s run-scoring double.
“The first couple of innings didn’t go too well for us,” Berti said. “To be able to string some things together was just big.”
Mayers, who pitched six scoreless innings of relief and carried a combined perfect game into the seventh against St. Louis in his previous appearance May 29, gave up seven runs and nine hits over three innings.
“I thought I made some quality pitches there early,” Mayers said. “They put the barrel to the ball and had a good approach against me.”
Kansas City struck quickly on MJ Melendez’s RBI single and Salvador Pérez’s run-scoring single in the first.
Nick Pratto’s solo shot and Melendez’s second run-scoring single in the third made it 4-0.
The start time of the series finale Wednesday night has been moved up 30 minutes to 6:10 p.m. With the Miami Heat playing their first home game of the NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets later that night, Marlins management sought to reduce the window of both events coinciding.
The Royals renewed their annual “Fathers Trip” during series stops in Miami and Baltimore. Fathers, fathers-in-law, and brothers of current Royals players and staff travel with the group. They stay in the team hotel and have the option of riding on chartered buses. The trip became a Royals tradition until it was interrupted in 2020 because of the pandemic.
“It’s eye-opening to me. I’ve never been part of something like this,” Kansas City manager Matt Quatraro said. “I think it’s really cool. To share that with them is really special.”
Royals: 1B Vinnie Pasquantino got the night off but was available to pinch-hit.
Marlins: OF Jazz Chisholm Jr. (turf toe) is scheduled to visit a foot specialist on Wednesday to determine his progression. … LHP A.J. Puk (elbow nerve irritation) was in the clubhouse before the game but has not been activated after one-inning rehab appearances with Double-A Pensacola on Friday and Saturday.
Royals RHP Zack Greinke (1-5, 4.19 ERA) starts the middle game of the series Tuesday. Greinke is 7-0 against the Marlins. LHP Jesús Luzardo (4-4, 4.05) pitches for Miami.