Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas each homered in a seven-run second inning, as the Royals climbed above the Detroit Tigers for first place in the AL Central on Tuesday night with an 11-4 victory. The win was the Royals ninth in a row and while manager Ned Yost and the players are trying to keep a level head about the standings after June 17, the club is in first place this late in the season for the first time since 2003, when they finished third at 83-79.
Let’s stick with the present. The Royals are hot. Tiger starter Max Scherzer (8-3) allowed a career high-tying 10 runs in four-plus innings. The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner allowed the first eight batters of the second inning to reach base and Gordon and Moustakas each hit two-run homers in the inning.
That was plenty of support for rookie pitcher Yordano Ventura (5-5), who gave up three runs and eight hits in seven innings. After scoring 22 runs this past weekend in Chicago, the Royals have scored 22 runs in two games against Detroit…against Cy Young Award winners in back to back efforts. In the first five meetings between these two teams, the Royals had been outscored 32-12. Before the Royals went on this winning streak, they were seven games behind Detroit. They are now a half game up.
With two games left in the series, the Royals can guarantee they leave the Motor City in first with a win on Wednesday afternoon.