KANSAS CITY, Mo. — And now the Royals are eight games over .500, and they got there Monday night in a 6-2 victory over the Miami Marlins by overcoming some rare defensive bobbles through stout pitching and a balanced 12-hit attack.
They also got there without All-Star left fielder Alex Gordon, who missed a game to attend the birth of his second son, and despite another addition to a growing injury list.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas left the game in the fifth inning because of what club officials classified as tightness in his left calf. It was a calf injury, remember, that recently sent Miguel Tejada to the disabled list.
The Royals shook it all off by getting RBIs from six different players. Six players also scored one run apiece.
Justin Maxwell and Alcides Escobar each broke ties with RBI triples, in the fourth and sixth innings, and Billy Butler rocked a 419-foot homer in the seventh.
Chris Getz marked his return from the disabled list with three singles. David Lough, Escobar and Butler each had two hits.
The Royals moved to 62-54 by winning for the 19th time in 24 games since the All-Star break. They haven’t been eight games over .500 this late in the season since they stood 82-74 on Sept. 22, 2003.
They Royals jumped past Cleveland into second place in the American League Central and pulled within 6 1/2 games of first-place Detroit. They also closed within four games of Tampa Bay for the final wild-card spot.
Right-hander Wade Davis, in his first start since Aug. 2, held the Marlins to two runs and six hits in six innings. He returned Sunday from seven days of family emergency leave following the death of his stepbrother.
Davis, 6-9, handed a 5-2 lead to reliever Louis Coleman to start the seventh inning. Coleman got two outs but also gave up a single and a walk, which brought Tim Collins in to face Logan Morrison. A walk loaded the bases, but Collins stranded all three runners by retiring Ed Lucas, a long-time Royals’ farmhand, on a fly to left.
Butler then opened the bottom of the inning with a 419-foot homer to left against reliever Ryan Webb for a 6-2 lead.
Kelvin Herrera worked around a leadoff double in the eighth before Luke Hochevar closed out the victory. The Royals are 6-2 on a 10-game homestand that concludes with two more games against the Marlins.
Miami starter Tom Koehler, 3-8, didn’t allow a hit until two outs in the fourth, but he gave up two runs that inning and three more in the sixth before exiting.
The Royals didn’t get their first hit until Moustakas beat Koehler to first on a grounder to first for a two-out single in the fourth inning. That turned into the game’s first run when Maxwell drove a triple into the right-center gap.
Getz followed by grounding a single up the middle for a 2-0 lead. Getz went to third on Escobar’s hit-and-run single through the right side.
Escobar stole second, but Koehler ended the inning by retiring Jarrod Dyson on a grounder to second.
Moustakas came up grimacing on his slide at home but played through the Miami fifth before leaving for a pinch hitter, newcomer Jamey Carroll, in the bottom of the inning. Carroll struck out with runners at first and third.
The Royals termed Moustakas’ status as “day to day” and said he will be evaluated further on Tuesday.
Miami pulled even in a two-run sixth included two errors and one play not made by the Royals’ outfield. Unusual stuff.
A two-base whiff by Dyson on Giancarlo Stanton’s one-out single to center put a runner at third.
The Royals conceded the run by keeping the infield back, but that positioning didn’t matter when Morrison sent a drive to deep right that Maxwell seemed to reach — but didn’t reach.
The ball fell for an RBI double.
Davis struck out Lucas on three pitches, but Greg Dobbs tied the game with a double into the right-field corner. Dobbs went to third when Maxwell misplayed the carom for an error.
Adeiny Hechavarria drew a walk before Davis ended the inning when Dyson ran down Jake Marisnick’s drive to deep center.
The Royals mustered an immediate three-run answer when the Marlins reciprocated with suspect outfield defense.
Getz punched a one-out single up the middle, Escobar followed by slicing a full-count pitch into short right. It should have been a single, but Stanton couldn’t cut the ball off.
It was scored an RBI triple, and the Royals led 3-2.
The Marlins shortened their infield, but it didn’t matter when Dyson hit a high infield chop to the left of the mound. Lucas fielded it from third but had no play at home and couldn’t get Dyson at first.
An infield single. And it was 4-2.
That finished Koehler, too.
Dan Jennings replaced Koehler and, after Dyson stole second, surrendered an RBI single to Lough, who served the ball into short right field for a 5-2 lead.