Nori Aoki slides across home plate with the go-ahead run in the seventh (photo/MLB)

Nori Aoki slides across home plate with the go-ahead run in the seventh (photo/MLB)

On June 7th, the Royals played the Yankees and found themselves five games behind Detroit for the division lead.  The Royals won 8-4, then proceeded to rattle off nine more wins.  After winning their eighth straight in that stretch, they overtook the Tigers for first place.  Now, two months later, the Royals repeat that scenario.

Alcides Escobar’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh broke a 2-2 tie as the Royals grabbed a 3-2 win over the Oakland A’s for their eighth straight win.  That, combined with Pittsburgh win over Detroit, put the Royals a half-game into first place ahead of the Tigers.

Just as they did in early June, the Royals overcame a five game deficit to pass the Tigers up.  This is the first time since 2003 the Royals have been in first place in August.

Escobar also singled in a run in the second to spot starter Yordano Ventura a 2-0 lead, but the A’s quickly tied it on a two-run single.

Ventura went six innings before handing it over to Kelvin Herrera (3-2), who pitched the seventh and got the win. Wade Davis was perfect in the eighth and Greg Holland worked the ninth for his 35th save, but the A’s threatened.

Josh Donaldson led off the ninth with a single, the first hit by the Athletics since the second inning, and Brandon Moss drew a walk. But Holland got Derek Norris to bounce into a double play and Stephen Vogt to fly out to end the game.

Watch the final out and check out Jarrod Dyson’s imitation of Ozzie Smith, with the number one jersey and all. (video/MLB)

Trade notes: The Royals acquired outfielder Josh Willingham from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Jason Adam. In a corresponding 40-man roster move, the Royals have requested unconditional release waivers on right-handed pitcher Wilking Rodriguez. The team is planning to make a move to add Willingham to the 25-man roster when he reports to Kansas City on Tuesday. Willingham, 35, was hitting .210 with 12 home runs, 34 RBI and a .345 on-base percentage in 68 games for Minnesota this season.