Aug 11, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (2) is congratulated by first base coach Rusty Kuntz (15) after driving in a run in the seventh inning against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City won the game 3-2. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals climb back into first with 3-2 victory

The Kansas City Royals took the first game of a four game home stand against the Oakland A’s and captured sole possession of first place in the American League Central.

With a 3-2 victory, the Royals have now won eight games in a row. Yordano Ventura kept the Royals in a 2-2 game through six innings, handing the ball over to Kelvin Herrera (3-2, 1.62) who got the win by tossing a perfect seventh inning, striking out two.

Sonny Gray (12-5, 2.87) got the hard-luch loss, giving up three runs, two earned over seven innings.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Royals found their hero de jour as Alcides Escobar, who had a run batted in earlier in the game, drove in the go-ahead run on an 0-2 pitch scoring pinch runner Nori Aoki from second.

Wade Davis tossed a perfect eighth inning, striking out two, before handing the ball off to Greg Holland for the ninth.

Holland gave up a lead off single to Josh Donaldson, then walked Brandon Moss. With no one out, Derek Norris grounded into a 5-unassisted-3 double play, with Mike Moustakas fielding a grounder and stepping on third and throwing to Billy Butler to complete the double-dip. Holland then got Stephen Vogt to fly out to center as he notched his 35th save.

The Detroit Tigers slipped to second place with their 11-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, a game in which Justin Verlander lasted only one inning, giving up five runs, seeing his earned run average balloon to 4.76 and leaving the game with tightness in his throwing shoulder. This can’t be good news for a team that just put a starter and top reliever on the 15-day disabled list.

NOTABLES: The Royals are eleven games over .500 for the first time since 2003. The Royals now have winning streaks of eight games and ten games this season, the first time that has happened in a season since the 1977 and 1978 seasons.

NEXT: Game 2 of 4 hosting the A’s. Jon Lester (12-7, 2.44) vs. Jeremy Guthrie (8-9, 4.35), 7:10 p.m. at Kauffman Stadium.

NEXT THREE SERIES: 4 games @ Minnesota, Friday-Monday, Aug. 15-18; 2 games @ Colorado, Tuesday-Wednesday, Aug. 19-20; 3 games @ Texas, Friday-Sunday, Aug. 22-24.

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