Let us go back to August 29th, 2003. That date was the last time that the Royals led the American League Central this late in the season. Yes, that was over a decade ago. Now, just a half game behind the Detroit Tigers, the Royals had a chance to find themselves in first place in the AL Central if they could only get the victory tonight.
It did not appear as though this would be an easy task. Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer was toeing the rubber for the Tigers, fresh off a shutout in his previous outing. However, the Royals countered with Yordano Ventura, giving Kansas City a legitimate chance with first on the line.
It did not take long for the Royals to end the drama. After a scoreless first, the Royals tattooed Scherzer for seven runs in the second. Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas each hit two run shots, and Omar Infante added a two run single in the seven run outburst. Detroit got two back in the bottom of the inning, as Alcides Escobar booted a routine ground ball and Austin Jackson singled, but the Royals maintained a 7-2 lead after the second.
While Ventura was able to settle down, Scherzer continued to struggle. The Royals pressed the attack in the fifth, scoring three more times on RBI singles from Salvador Perez and Jarrod Dyson, as well as a bases loaded walk to Infante to give the Royals a 10-2 lead. Scherzer had long since departed by the time the final damage was done, being tagged for 10 runs on 10 hits and a walk in his 4+ innings of work.
Detroit once again got a run back in the bottom of the inning. With the bases loaded with two outs, Ventura walked Miguel Cabrera on four pitches. However, the Royals got out of the jam on a bizarre play. With an 0-2 count to Victor Martinez, Ventura uncorked a fastball that sailed to the backstop. Fortunately, the ball bounded right back to Perez, who picked Eugenio Suarez off at third for the final out.
Both teams tacked on an additional run, as Lorenzo Cain had an RBI single in the top of the seventh and Ian Kinsler hit a solo home run to greet Louis Coleman in the bottom of the eighth, as the Royals cruised to the 11-4 victory. That victory gives the Royals first place in the American League Central, as the Royals have made up seven games on the Tigers in just over two weeks.
Yordano Ventura earned the victory, allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks, striking out four over seven innings. He mixed his pitches well and pounded the strike zone, throwing 65 of his 102 pitches for strikes.
Five Royals had two or more hits on the night, led by Gordon who was 2-5 with a double and a two run home run.
For the best deals on Kansas City Royals tickets visit TiqIQ.com