The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Royals win 8th straight, beat Athletics 3-2 and take over AL Central lead

  • Print

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Alcides Escobar pumped his fist. Jarrod Dyson did a backflip. And for the first time in more than a decade, the Kansas City Royals were in first place in mid-August.

Yordano Ventura outpitched Sonny Gray in a matchup of talented young starters Monday night, and Escobar drove in the go-ahead run as Kansas City beat the Oakland Athletics 3-2 to take over the AL Central lead from Detroit with its eighth consecutive victory.

"You want to be in first place. Our goal was to get back to first place," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Now our goal is to stay in first place."

The Royals trailed the Tigers by eight games on July 21, but their 16th win in 19 games wiped away the deficit and gave them the lead at the latest point in a season since 2003.

"We're playing great," said Escobar, who drove in a run in the second inning before his two-out single off Gray (12-6) in the seventh gave Kansas City the lead for good.

Ventura lasted through sixth innings before giving way to Kelvin Herrera (3-2), who tossed a spotless seventh. Wade Davis breezed through the eighth and Greg Holland worked the ninth for his 35th save, though it didn't come without a little drama.

Josh Donaldson led off the ninth with a single, the first hit by the Athletics since the second inning, and Brandon Moss drew a walk. But after a brief conference on the mound, Holland got Derek Norris to bounce into a double play and Stephen Vogt to fly out to end the game.

"He has the ability to focus pitch to pitch, which good closers can do," Yost said. "You get first and second with his stuff, you just have a feeling he's going to get out of it."

Kansas City put pressure on right from the start, when Dyson and Omar Infante opened the game with back-to-back singles. Gray might have escaped the jam, though, if right fielder Josh Reddick hadn't flubbed a routine throw to the infield after Infante's hit. It allowed Dyson to reach third base easily, and he scored on Salvador Perez's double-play groundout.

"It's pretty embarrassing," Reddick said, "especially since it cost us a run. And we end up losing by one run, so it doesn't make your feel any better."

After Escobar made it 2-0 in th second, Oakland answered with some help from Ventura, who worked to overcome command problems most of the night. John Jaso led off with a single, Coco Crisp worked a walk and Donaldson earned another free pass to load the bases with two outs.

Moss hit a full-count pitch up the middle to score both runners and knot the game.

Yost pulled Ventura after a double play got the rookie right-hander through the sixth. And when Gray faltered in the seventh and Kansas City took the lead, one of the stingiest bullpens in baseball made sure the smallest of margins was enough.

"Those three guys at the end are as good as you get," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They don't worry about righty-lefty. They feel when they get to the seventh inning with a lead, they feel pretty good about it."

LEADERS OF THE PACK

The Royals have not trailed since the first inning of Thursday's game in Arizona, a span of 44 innings. "There's just a real confidence right now when we step on the field," Yost said.

BULLISH BULLPENS

Herrera has worked 17 1-3 consecutive scoreless dating to June 27. That's the third-longest stretch in the majors behind Davis, who has gone 17 2-3 innings, and the A's Ryan Cook, who has gone 19 innings.

Grey AREA

Gray struck out a career-low two batters while losing to Kansas City for the second time in his young career. The only other team he's lost to twice is Baltimore.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: SS Jed Lowrie was back in the starting lineup. He's missed time recently with a bruised right index finger.

Royals: 1B Eric Hosmer continues to wear a brace on his right hand after breaking his third metacarpal. He hopes to return in September.

UP NEXT

LHP Jon Lester, who beat the Royals in his first start with Oakland, tries to move to 3-0 since arriving from Boston in a July 31 trade. Kansas City counters with RHP Jeremy Guthrie.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Willy wants to get back to winning

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A black swallowtail butterfly land on Lantana flowers Sunday morning at the Assiniboine Park English Gardens- standup photo – August 14, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Two Canadian geese perch themselves for a perfect view looking at the surroundings from the top of a railway bridge near Lombard Ave and Waterfront Drive in downtown Winnipeg- Standup photo- May 01, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Which Jets prospect has the best chance of making NHL team this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google