Kansas City Royals on precipice of division lead after sweeping Giants


The Kansas City Royals swept the reeling San Francisco Giants with a 7-4 victory Sunday at a packed Kauffman Stadium.

Coupled with the Detroit Tigers’ 19-inning loss Sunday, the Royals are now just one-half game out of first place in the American League Central and 10 games over .500.

By the way, it is August 10. This is playoff baseball. These are your Kansas City Royals.

Danny Duffy got the win, tossing 3-hit ball through 6.2 innings. (7-10, 2.57) He suddenly is getting run support from a team that is last in the American League in home runs, but has hit seven in its last six games. Alex Gordon is responsible for three of those, and has homered in three of the last four games.

The Royals are riding a seven game winning streak, and ten out of the last eleven.

Since being swept by the Boston Red Sox in three games after the All Star break, the Royals have won six series in a row, sweeping two of them and taking three out of four in another from the Cleveland Indians.

The Royals pounced on Tim Lincecum (9-7, 4.22) for six runs and seven hits in 3.1 innings. Nori Aoki led off the bottom of the first with a scratch infield single. With one out, he stole second before Salvador Perez walked. Billy Butler then doubled to right and scored Aoki. After a wild pitch plated Perez for a 2-0 lead, Alex Gordon launched his twelfth home run of year to right to make it 4-0.

Perez added a two-run shot in the fourth, his fourteenth of the year, and the Royals bullpen shut down the Giants with Jason Frasor, Wade Davis and Greg Holland completing the sweep.

The Royals are 4.5 games out of the first Wild Card spot, held by the Los Angeles Angels, and hold the second Wild Card spot over the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays by 1.5 games. But the Royals have their sites set on the Tigers, who limped out of Toronto after a marathon 19-inning loss Sunday and losers of five of their last seven. The Tigers also placed reliever Joakim Soria and starter Anibal Sanchez on the 15-day disabled list. Sanchez (8-5, 3.53) is expected to miss 3-4 weeks.

NOTABLES: The Royals stole seven bases Sunday, with Nori Aoki and Jarrod Dyson swiping three apiece. Wade Davis lowered his earned run average to 0.89, almost exactly half that of Greg Holland’s miniscule ERA (1.77).

NEXT: The Royals entertain the Oakland Athletics in a four-game set at Kauffman Stadium beginning Monday. Sonny Gray (12-5, 2.87) vs Yordano Ventura (9-8, 3.47), 7:10 p.m. Monday.