The title says it all.
With an 11-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night, the Royals have taken over sole possession of first place in the American League Central. The team has been on fire of of late, winning nine straight games and going 12-3 so far in June. The team now sits at 38-32 on the season, while the Tigers fall to 36-31.
The Royals have always been a team that could potentially make some noise down the stretch. They have a fantastic pitching staff, a lights-out bullpen led by arguably the best closer in the game in Greg Holland, and a defense that could very easily have five gold-glove winners. All that had to come around was the offense.
The offense has woken up.
Yordano Ventura got the start tonight, and the 23-year-old rookie was excellent. Ventura rolled along for seven innings, scattering six hits while giving up three earned runs, walking two and striking out four. The Royals had a field day off of reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who gave up 10 earned runs on 10 hits, a walk, five strikeouts, and two home runs over four innings. He threw 51 pitches alone in a seven-run second inning, which saw two-run homers from Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas. Former Tiger Omar Infante also chipped in with a two-run single for good measure.
The Royals have scored 11 runs in each of the first two games against the Tigers and have outscored their opponents (Yankees, Indians, White Sox, Tigers) 67-29 during their winning streak. Dale Sveum replaced Pedro Grifol as the team’s hitting coach at the end of May to try to provide the offense with a spark, and it has worked to perfection.The pitching has remained spectacular, and this has finally become a team that can be very dangerous down the stretch.