The guys try to contin their giddyness while comparing the Royals hot start to other teams that jusmped out to a 7-0 record. They also discuss the Alex Rios injury, the resurgance of Mike Moustakas, and Ventura versus Trout.
Nursing a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning, Royals fans watched in horror as a glimpse of the “same old Royals” appeared right in front of them. The Tigers had just beaten the Pirates, meaning Kansas City needed a win to stay in first place. Jarrod Dyson lost a crucial battle with the sun, dropping a seemingly routine fly ball that allowed the tying run to score. In the next at bat, Dyson watched as Alberto Callapso singled home the go-ahead run.
If fans were truly watching those Royals, they would have rolled over and suffered a gut-wrenching loss with little fight.
Fortunately, it’s becoming more and more apparent that these Royals are much different.
Dyson made up for his error by driving home the game-tying run in a huge five-run seventh inning, leading the Royals to a 7-3 victory over the Oakland A’s on Thursday afternoon. Kansas City battled back to take the four-game series against the best team in baseball, earning their 18th win in their last 22 games.
In what’s been a three-week stretch with plenty of comfortable wins, Thursday’s tense game provided fans with a playoff-like feeling.
Both teams plated runs via sacrifice flies early on. In the fourth inning, Mike Moustakas came through with a two-out RBI single to give the Royals a 2-1 lead.
Starter James Shields, coming off of a four-hit shutout, overcame a high pitch count to settle into another solid start. He retired seven straight hitters before Stephen Vogt reached with a two-out single in the sixth inning. It was then when Shields got Josh Reddick to hit into what seemed like a routine fly ball out, until Dyson lost it in the sun. Vogt scored all the way from first on what was officially scored as an RBI triple. In the next at-bat, Callapso blooped a single into right field to give the A’s a 3-2 lead.
In the month of August, Shields has allowed five extra-base hits in 23 innings. Four of them are by Reddick, who broke up Shields’ perfect game with a home run in the sixth inning back on August 3.
It was a flashback into May of 2013, when Shields would put forth solid performance after solid performance, only to receive the loss due to poor run support or defensive collapses. In all, he allowed seven hits and three earned runs, though it’s quite possible the scoring on the Reddick triple will be changed to an error in the coming days. He struck out five A’s while walking one.
The Royals appeared to have a great opportunity to tie the game in the sixth inning when Alcides Escobar reached with a bunt single, and the throw sailed down the first base line. Escobar jogged to second base and appeared to be in scoring position with the heart of the Royals’ order coming up.
However, home plate umpire Hal Gibson called Escobar out, claiming that he was running outside of the baseline to first base. Replay showed that while Escobar was running on the fringe of the infield grass, he didn’t appear to impact the wild throw. Billy Butler would promptly single two at bats later, which likely would have tied the game had Escobar still been at second base. This ignited a shower of boos from the crowd of nearly 21,000.
In the seventh, Kansas City sparked another opportunity. A single and a double by Erik Kratz and Christian Colon put two runners in scoring position with one out. Ned Yost called on pinch hitter Lorenzo Cain to run for Kratz, who was immediately almost picked off third base by reliever Ryan Cook.
After an intense replay, Cain was called safe, and up to the plate trotted Dyson. He fouled off four straight pitches before lining a sharp single through the right side of the infield, plating Cain to tie the game at 3. Just like that, Shields was off the hook for a loss.
The Royals were just starting, though. Nori Aoki came through with a first-pitch ringing triple down the right field line, scoring both Colon and Dyson to give Kansas City a 5-3 lead. Later in the inning, Butler would plate two more runners with a two-out single.
“We laid it all on the line,” Dyson said after the game.
Francisley Bueno, Aaron Crow, and Wade Davis nailed down the seventh and eighth innings. With a four run lead, Yost turned to Jason Frasor for the ninth frame, who quickly worked into trouble by putting two on with only one out. Now an save situation, Yost called on Greg Holland to finish the job, and the All-Star closer got the final two outs to end the game.
Crow (6-1) earned the win. Holland earned his A.L.-leading 36th save of the season. Jeff Samardzija (5-9) took the loss for the A’s; he allowed four runs (three earned) in 6.1 innings.
On August 1, the Royals were entering a “gauntlet” of 13 games. 10 of them would be against winning teams, with seven being against the mighty Oakland A’s. Kansas City responded with a statement-making 11-2 record, vaulting them to first place in the A.L. Central in the process.
The Royals will now play 18 straight games against teams with losing records, beginning with a four-game series in Minnesota on Thursday night. Danny Duffy (7-10, 2.57 ERA) will take on Ricky Nolasco (5-7, 5.90).
Kansas City has shown that they can play with anyone after winning 5 of 7 against the A’s. They now must avoid a letdown against losing teams as we enter the homestretch of the season.
After the game, Yost told the media that Eric Hosmer won’t swing a bat until at least another week. Hosmer was placed on the DL after fracturing his hand on July 30, and was expected to miss between 3-6 weeks.
The Kansas City Royals are in first place in the AL Central. By themselves. In August.
Seriously – I checked ESPN. It’s right here, in case you don’t believe me.
In a season full of ups and downs, the Royals’ eighth straight win on Monday night provided the highest ‘up’ yet.
Coupled with the Tigers’ disastrous performance in Pittsburgh, the Royals leapfrogged Detroit in the division standings after their 3-2 win against the Oakland A’s on Monday night. The Tigers, one day removed after using everyone in their bullpen in a 19-inning loss in Toronto, saw starter Justin Verlander depart after just one inning, giving up five runs in the process.
As a result, the 64-53 Royals, 11 games over .500 for the first time since 2003, find themselves atop the AL Central standings for the first time since June 20. The bleeding Tigers, now losers of six of their last eight, are falling apart as they enter the home stretch of the season.
Led by Alcides Escobar, Kansas City’s offense did just enough against A’s starter Sonny Gray. After Gray limited the Royals to just three hits back in a start on August 1, he dodged constant literal bullets for the first two innings. Jarrod Dyson and Omar Infante opened the game with consecutive singles, with Dyson advancing to third on an error on right fielder Josh Reddick. He would score on Salvador Perez’ double play. The Royals added a second run the next inning when Escobar singled home Alex Gordon, making the score 2-0.
Gray would limit the Royals hitless for the next 4 2/3 innings. To open the seventh frame, Lorenzo Cain reached with a walk, and swapped places with Raul Ibanez after a fielder’s choice. Ned Yost sent pinch runner Nori Aoki to run for Ibanez, and he advanced to second on Moustakas’ groundout. Needing a clutch hit against one of the best pitchers in the AL, Escobar came through again, lining a single into left-center field to plate the go-ahead run. After the run scored, Escobar pumped his fist at the Royals dugout. Behind the crowd and the circumstances, it was hard not for even the usually-calm Escobar to get fired up.
Kansas City starter Yordano Ventura once again lacked his best command, but still managed to hold Oakland to two runs over six innings. Logging yet another quality start, Ventura struck out five and walked four, allowing only two hits. He retired 9 of the final 10 hitters he faced following Brandon Moss’ third-inning single that plated two runs to tie the game.
As usual, the Royals’ bullpen was lights-out. Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis worked flawless seventh and eighth innings, striking out four of the six hitters they combined to face.
When closer Greg Holland entered for the ninth inning, things got a lot more tense. Without a hit since the third inning, Oakland ignited a rally when Josh Donaldson led off the frame with a single. Holland, lacking his usual superb command as of late, then walked Brandon Moss to put two on with nobody out.
The Pirates had just beaten the Tigers. The Royals were three outs away from moving back into first place. As the crowd of over 21,000 stood on their feet, they couldn’t help but wonder if now would be when the “same old Royals” would show back up.
Not now. Not yet. Hopefully not ever.
Holland settled down, inducing Derek Norris to ground into a 5-3 double play. With a runner in scoring position and only needing one more out, every fan at Kauffman Stadium was standing in anticipation. Holland got the job done, getting Stephen Vogt to fly out to center to end the game, and lock down his AL-best 35th save of the year.
After catching the final out, Dyson performed a celebratory backflip. Korean sensation SungWoo Lee made his way out on top of the Royals Hall of Fame, dancing and jumping around before hanging the Royals’ trademark “W” on the building.
Eight wins in a row. 16 of 19. Just another step and day closer to ending the longest playoff drought in North America sports history.
The Royals and Tigers are once again locked into a battle for first place in the AL Central. Considering how many teams are competing for the Wild Card spots, the goal for both squads is clear – win the division.
It doesn’t get any easier for Detroit, who have already placed two pitchers on the DL in the last 48 hours. Verlander’s fastball velocity averaged an alarming 89 mph on Monday night, and he will be evaluated for right shoulder soreness on Tuesday. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they find themselves needing to escape their tailspin while facing the Pirates, who have posted the best record in the majors since May 22.
Meanwhile, the Royals continue their series with the A’s on Tuesday night when Jeremy Guthrie (8-9, 4.35 ERA) faces Royal killer Jon Lester (12-7, 2.44), proving how cruel baseball can be. Kansas City finally climbs into first place in August for the first time in 10 years, and its next opposing pitcher is a guy who has a 1.65 career ERA against them.
As they have all year, the Royals must persevere regardless of how unlikely success may appear. At this point, considering how well everything is going for this club, I’m not sure I’d advise betting against them.
Alert the presses: The Kansas City Royals scored seven runs tonight.
Without Eric Hosmer (hand contusion) and Lorenzo Cain (rest) I was afraid that that would be a tall task for Kansas City. Alas, it was not.
Mike Moustakas got the scoring started with a solo homerun in the second inning. The White Sox would rally in the fourth inning with a “Big Donkey” Adam Dunn homerun.
The game would be all Royals after that. The Royals would score six (!!!!!) runs after that. Back-to-back doubles by Billy “The Base-Clogger” Butler and Raul “Too Cool For You At 42” Ibanez started off the Royals four run sixth inning.
With the Royals up 3-1, Jarrod Dyson bunts to score Alcides Escobar, and according to the unwritten rules of baseball, you are not allowed to bunt while winning by more than two runs. Mmhhmmm, right.
Omar Infante would sacrifice Nori Aoki in to give KC a 5-1 lead. The scoring outburst would end on a Mike Moustakas two-run bomb to give the Royals a seven (!!!!) run lead.
In short: Mike Moustakas took a good, long look in the mirror, and decided that he can hit balls over the wall not just during BP.
The Royals still lack in one (more than that) department: We still left 14 guys on base. Since the start of the ‘second-half’ the Royals have left 41 men on base.
Before the game, Dayton Moore was interviewed. You know what that means: Writing material for Royals writers everywhere. I’ll give you the gist of it: Our (Dayton and Ned) success is tied together. We’ve got a lot of holes, but we aren’t going to change.
It isn’t exactly word for word, but it’s pretty close. I’m not sure what part of any of those statements actually make sense. You haven’t made the playoffs in either of your tenures. You are also one game under .500 with the current guys on your roster, but you’re convinced that these are the guys that will get your to the playoffs. Crazy, right?
A huge congratulations to Bruce Chen is in order, I think. Bruce Chen has now tied Mariano Rivera for all-time Panamanian wins leader.
The Royals will send James Shields to the hill tomorrow in the rubber game against Jose Quintanna. Quintanna is winless against the Royals in his career, which probably means we’ll lose tomorrow.