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Whit Merrifield sets new Royals record with 31-game hitting streak

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On Tuesday, Royals outfielder Whit Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 30 games — dating back to last season, of course — with a first-inning triple against the Mariners. That matched Hall of Famer George Brett for the Royals record.

Hitless in his first three at-bats on Wednesday against the Mariners, Merrifield set the new Royals record with a bunt single in the bottom of the seventh inning. Terrance Gore had just hit a two-out RBI single. Merrifield laid down a bunt on the left side, plating Gore to tie the game up at 5-5.

Merrifield entered Wednesday’s action batting .349/.378/.558 with five extra-base hits and three stolen bases in 45 plate appearances. His 31-game hitting streak is baseball’s longest since Dan Uggla hit in 33 consecutive games in 2011 with the Braves.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.