KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' scoreless streak is over.
Second baseman Whit Merrifield belted a two-out home run against Rays right-hander Alex Cobb in the third inning of Wednesday's 6-2 win, ending the Royals' franchise-record scoreless streak at 45 innings. The Royals also snapped a five-game losing skid to remain three games behind the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot.
Merrifield's 16th homer gave the Royals a 1-0 lead.
"Whit hit the homer and you look in the dugout, and the guys are hugging and celebrating," manager Ned Yost said.
The Royals' streak was the longest in the Majors since the mound was lowered in 1969. The longest streak in MLB history is 48, held by the 1968 Cubs and the 1906 A's.
What was Merrifield's reaction to the streak ending?
"Excitement. Relief," Merrifield said. "Just one of those things where the streak just kept building and building. [The homer] put us on the board. It was a good feeling. I knew once we got one, we could get some more."
The homer also helped rookie right-hander Jake Junis notch his sixth win. He also described the scene in the dugout as a wild celebration after Merrifield's homer.
"We kind of go where [Merrifield] goes," Junis said. "It was kind of fitting that he was the one that broke the streak."
The most important element of the night was the win, Merrifield said.
"It's been a rough few games, but people don't seem to realize we're right in the middle of this thing," Merrifield said. "We're three games out of the Wild Card. We believe in ourselves."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.