On a night in which the former division leaders Detroit Tigers saw Justin Verlander leave his start with shoulder discomfort--the second Tigers starter to exit stage left an injury in the past week--the Royals seized their opportunity to jump in front in the AL Central.
Yordano Ventura and Sonny Gray did their best to hold each offense to little in the way of a substantive attack.
Ventura yielded just two hits, walking four A's and striking out five. The only real trouble he got himself into was a bases-loaded mess in the third--Josh Donaldson pushed Coco Crisp and John Jaso to second and third on a 3 - 1 pitch that definitely looked like it caught the top of the strike zone--that resulted in two runs scored when Brandon Moss ripped a two-out single to shallow center. Other than the third inning, Ventura faced little in the way of stress, limiting the mighty Oak Land offense to just two other base-runners in his other five innings of work.
For his part, Athletics righty Sonny Gray was slightly more pitch-efficient than his Royal counterpart, but he worked around nine base-runners in seven innings. The Royals got on the board in the first thanks in large part to Josh Reddick, who came up throwing on a liner to shallow right only to have the ball slip out of his hand on the throw, Raburning Jarrod Dyson to third. Dyson came around to score on a Salvador Perez grounder that ended in a double play but still plated the speedy center fielder.
The Royals would flirt with scoring over the rest of Gray's time in the game, but only scored their second and third runs when Alcides Escobar came to the plate, first in the second and then again in the seventh, when Alcides Escobar worked liners into the outfield, scoring Alex Gordon and later Norichika Aoki.
SungWoo Lee got to put up the "W" in the outfield, this one for the latest the Royals have been in first place since 2003. The Royals have won eight straight and haven't lost since SungWoo landed stateside. Can we move his wife here tomorrow?