With his speed, Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson can giveth and taketh away about as fast as anybody in baseball.
So it was Thursday. In the span of two innings, Dyson lost a ball in the sun that cost the Royals a lead, and sliced a run scoring single that got the Royals back to even and helped ignite a 7-3 triumph over the A’s on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium.
The outcome allowed the Royals to embark on a 10-day, nine-game road trip starting Friday in the same position they’ve spent most of the week, first place in the American League Central.
The Royals remained a half-game ahead of the Tigers, who beat the Pirates 5-2 on Thursday, by taking three of four games from the team with baseball’s best record.
And the amazing run continues. The victory was the Royals’ 10th in their last 11 games and 18th in their last 22. They move to 66-54 on the season in their quest to end a postseason drought that has endured since 1985.
They also won the season series from the A’s 5-2, with all of the game played in the last two weeks.
Thursday’s party appeared interrupted in the sixth. Royals starter James Shields got two quick outs before Stephen Vogt singled, bringing Josh Reddick to the plate. Dyson positioned himself to catch the fly ball, but he never saw it come down. Vogt scored and Reddick came in on Alberto Callaspo’s single to give the A’s a 3-2 lead.
The answer came in the seventh, and it was generated by the bottom of the order, which had productive all afternoon.
Erik Kratz, getting his second start at catcher since the Royals acquired him from Toronto on July 28, singled with one out.
Christian Colon, quickly becoming a fan favorite, delivered a double off the base of the wall in left. It was his third hit of the game and fourth in the two days he’s pulled starting duty.
A rally was building when Dyson stepped up, determined to atone for the sun ball that was ruled a triple.
He offered at the first four pitches from A’s reliever Ryan Cook, and fouled each off to the left. The fifth pitch was slashed into right field for an RBI single.
Aoki followed with a smash down the right field line for a triple, scoring pinch-runner Lorenzo Cain and Dyson.
The Royals weren’t finished. After an Alcides Escobar walk, Billy Butler scored two with a single to right, and this time the A’s had no response. The seventh-inning uprising got James Shields off the hook for a loss and five relievers brought it home.
When Scott Frasor, who opened the ninth, allowed two singles with one out, Royals manager Ned Yost didn’t let it linger. He summoned Greg Holland, who got the final two outs despite walking one batter.