They’re winning baseball games. They’re making history. They’re also making quite a menace that other teams will have to deal with as the summer progresses.
It’s all just going well in Kansas City right now.
The Royals downed the Tigers 2-1 on Wednesday afternoon to win their 10th straight game – their longest winning streak since 1994. 40% of the Royals Blue authors weren’t alive in 1994. They clinched the crucial four game series with Detroit, and are guaranteed to return home in first place in the AL Central regardless of what happens tomorrow.
For the first time in over a week, the Royals didn’t win in a blowout. Baserunners and runs were at a premium against Detroit lefty starter Drew Smyly. Knowing that he needed to provide a quality start, Jeremy Guthrie came through for his club. The bullpen was once again dominant. As much as I usually try to keep these posts modest, it is what it is – the Royals are kicking the absolute crap out of the Tigers.
Guthrie, recently plagued by poor run support, had a 1-0 lead to work with before he even took the hill. Eric Hosmer singled and stole second base; it was the 40th swipe of Hosmer’s career, setting a new club record by a first baseman. With two outs, Alex Gordon grounded a slow roller that seemed destined to land in shortstop Eugenio Suarez’ glove, but at the last minute, the ball kicked off of second base and rolled into right field. Hosmer scored the game’s first run on the play, and all Gordon could do upon returning to the dugout is smile and laugh. It’s been a fun 10 games for this team, and the favorable bounces they’ve gotten have to make it even better.
In the fifth inning, former Tiger Omar Infante clobbered a solo home run to deep left field. Infante’s fourth bomb of the year would turn out to be the game winning run. Over the last three games, to say Infante is killing his former team would be an understatement. He’s now 5-12 with eight RBI’s and two home runs this series, which is quite a turnaround for a guy who was in a major slump just a week ago.
As for Guthrie (4-6) he was magnificent. The veteran shut down the Tigers for 6 2/3 splendid innings, allowing four hits and one run while striking out nine. Guthrie, who has recorded 18 of his 59 strikeouts in his last two starts, was near flawless for six innings. In the seventh, J.D. Martinez lined a solo home run just fair to left field, and following a two-out double by Nick Castellanos, he was pulled for reliever Kelvin Herrera.
Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland shut down the Tigers over the game’s final 2 1/3 innings. Coming in with the tying run in scoring position, Herrera got Don Kelly to fly out to shallow center, while Davis struck out all three hitters he faced in a 1-2-3 eighth. Holland worked around a leadoff single to record his 21st save of the season, which leads the American League.
Winners of 10 in a row, the Royals now sport the longest winning streak that has occurred in baseball this season. They will try to sweep the four-game series from Tigers on Thursday when Danny Duffy (4-5, 2.83 ERA) opposes Anibal Sanchez (3-2, 2.44).
This is an example of a time when everything is going right for one team, and everything is going wrong for the other. It’s exactly what the Royals saw Detroit do to them back in early May. They have a chance to deliver a statement knockout punch by taking the fourth game tomorrow, but regardless of what happens, they will return home on Friday in sole possession of first place. Now 8-0 in the current nine game stretch against AL Central opponents, the Royals are rewriting the team’s history book every game.
Don’t end it here, boys. Keep it going.