The KC Royals now lead the American League Central Division by twelve games. While winning their fourth straight game, Kansas City used a rare national television appearance to demonstrate to the rest of the League that there is no chance that they will be taking their foot off the accelerator as they seek to close in on their second straight playoff appearance and first Divisional title in thirty years.
In welcoming the Detroit Tigers to Kansas City, the Royals used their traditional formula for baseball: Excellent starting pitching plus stingy defense plus just enough offense. It all added up to a marvelous home debut for Johnny Cueto. The fans of Kansas City flocked to Kauffman stadium tonight to witness the home debut of their newly acquired ace and they certainly were not disappointed. As good as Cueto had been in his first two road starts since being acquired from Cincinnati he was nearly untouchable tonight. In his first start in Royal whites (which look good on him by the way) Cueto spun an absolute gem. In going the distance, Cueto surrendered four hits (scattered between three Tigers hitters), eight strikeouts, and zero walks.
Though he did not need much, the Royals offense was more than happy to provide the necessary run support to ensure that Cueto’s third outing as a Royal would have a much more pleasant ending than the previous two. Paced by a balanced twelve hit attack that saw four different Royal hitters collect RBI’s, Kansas City took full control of this contest in the very first inning and erased all doubt that this would be a beautiful night for baseball in Kansas City.
Of course, this was just one game against a depleted and defeated Detroit squad but tonight contained all the elements of what the Royals will depend upon in their quest in returning to the World Series. Cueto was incredible, the defense was solid, the offense did what was necessary, and the Kauffman crowd was rocking from the first inning to the last.