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MLB: San Diego Padres at Kansas City RoyalsMay 31, 2024; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; San Diego Padres first baseman Luis Arraez (4) singles in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Hitting is contagious, and Luis Arraez has gone viral.

The Kansas City Royals will try to stop Arraez and the visiting San Diego Padres on Saturday afternoon in the second contest of a three-game series, but the Royals have already seen how difficult that is.

On Friday, Arraez collected four singles — his major-league-best fifth four-hit game of the season.

In 24 games since joining the Padres on May 4 following a trade with the Miami Marlins, Arraez is hitting .398, with 41 hits to lead the majors with 82.

The two-time batting champion again leads the majors with a .342 average. He has hit safely in 14 of his past 15 games with 10 multi-hit games, batting .448.

Since Arraez’s arrival in San Diego, his approach has caught on with his teammates. In Friday’s 11-8 win, the club collected 11 eighth-inning hits, a franchise record, that turned a 3-2 deficit into an 11-3 lead.

“That was pretty special,” Padres manager Mike Shildt said. “Professional at-bats throughout. Everybody wasn’t trying to do too much, just taking what the game gave them. A lot of balls hit the other way, through the middle.”

“Trouble happened quickly,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “They put every ball in play. They use the whole field.”

The Padres lead the majors in hitting in road games, batting .294 with a .348 on-base average and scoring a National League-leading 150 runs in 28 away games.

“I love this kind of play,” Arraez said. “When we put the ball in play, something happens. So we just need to continue to do that and we’ll win a lot of games.”

Right-handers Joe Musgrove (3-4, 5.66 ERA) of San Diego and Alec Marsh (4-2, 3.24) of Kansas City will square off Saturday afternoon.

In two career starts and 9 2/3 innings against the Royals, Musgrove has a 6.52 ERA.

Musgrove was sidelined for three weeks due to right elbow inflammation, making just three starts in May, but he allowed two or fewer runs each time out. He struck out five in 5 1/3 innings, allowing a run on six hits against the New York Yankees in his most recent outing on Sunday. He didn’t figure into the decision of his team’s 5-2 win.

Marsh has yet to face the Padres. He looks to rebound from his worst start of the year, surrendering a season-high five runs, including two home runs, in seven innings of a 6-5 loss at Minnesota on Monday.

In losing five of its past six games, Kansas City has repeated a pattern of poor relief pitching and offensive rallies that fall just short in the final inning.

Royals relievers have allowed 24 hits and 17 runs — 16 earned — in 12 2/3 innings, with three blown saves in the losses.

Meanwhile, in each of the five losses, Kansas City had the tying run on base or at the plate in the ninth.

In Friday’s defeat, the bullpen surrendered nine runs on 13 hits over the final 3 2/3 innings.

“We’ll flush today and get after it tomorrow,” said Friday’s losing pitcher, John Schreiber. “We’re gonna have good days and bad days. That’s baseball.”

Trailing 11-3, Kansas City scored five runs in the ninth and had two men on base when Nelson Velazquez’s potential game-tying home run was caught a step in front of the left-field wall.

“Just never quit and pass the baton to the next guy,” Kansas City’s Bobby Witt Jr. said. “That’s how we roll. We’re trying to show teams we’re never out of the fight.”

“It doesn’t surprise,” Quatraro said of Friday’s rally. “We’ve seen these guys do it all year.”

–Field Level Media

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