07 Jun

a winning blend

The Mississippi spice was strong in Kansas City’s big 4-3 win against Cleveland on Thursday at Progressive Field. Ex-Mississippi State star Hunter Renfroe went 2-for-3 with an RBI double; MSU alum Adam Frazier doubled and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning; and Ole Miss product James McArthur pitched a clean ninth for his 12th save. The Royals improved to 37-26 and climbed to within 4 games of the first-place Guardians in the American League Central. Renfroe, after a very cold start (.189), is showing signs of heating up, hitting .271 with two homers, seven RBIs and 11 runs in his last 15 games. The Crystal Springs native hit his fifth homer in Tuesday’s game. Frazier, who also scuffled out of the gate (.210), is batting .275 with six runs over his last 15. McArthur has been a fairly reliable closer despite a 4.91 ERA (inflated by a couple of bad outings). The fourth Mississippian on the KC roster is reliever Chris Stratton (2-3, 5.76 ERA, three saves), another State alum who didn’t get in Thursday’s game. Stratton, Renfroe and Frazier — each a free agent signee this past off-season — were teammates in Starkville in 2011-12. “Really blessed to be able to play this game with people that you know and care about,” Stratton recently told the Kansas City Star. “It’s a lot of fun.” Winning helps. … Down on the Royals farm, former Mississippi Braves star Drew Waters went 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs to pace Triple-A Omaha to a 16-6 win over Memphis. Waters, clamoring for a call-up, is batting .271 with six homers and 30 RBIs. At Double-A Northwest Arkansas, former MSU standout Eric Cerantola is 2-2 with a 2.41 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 11 games. And at High-Class A Quad Cities, ex-Southern Miss star Dustin Dickerson hit his first homer of 2024 as part of a 2-for-4 effort in the River Bandits’ 5-3 win Thursday against Wisconsin. Dickerson, a shortstop, is hitting .250 with 13 RBIs and 23 runs in 40 games in his first full pro season. Ole Miss alum Brandon Johnson is 3-3, 4.09, with two saves in 17 relief appearances for QC. P.S. Ex-USM standout Matt Wallner homered in both ends of a doubleheader for Triple-A St. Paul and now has six homers in his last nine games — 11 on the season — for the Minnesota affiliate; he is batting .214 with 32 RBIs. … Cheers all around for Jackson Prep’s Konnor Griffin, named Gatorade’s national high school player of the year. An LSU signee and highly rated MLB draft prospect, Griffin follows the likes of Bobby Witt Jr., Clayton Kershaw, Justin Upton, Zack Greinke, Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield as the winner of this award.