Heading into this season, it is safe to say few thought that the Royals' offense was going to spend its first seven games dismantling the opposition, yet here the Royals stand, 7 - 0 and owners (at present) of the most runs scored in baseball with 52 runs scored to just 18 runs allowed. That run differential is an absurd +34, four runs better than the Tigers, who coming into today were the only other team who had yet to lose this season.
The Royals actually started from a deficit this afternoon, as Danny Duffy ran into problems as he faced the top of the Twins lineup the first time through. Brian Dozier hit a one-out double in the home half of the first inning, and after a Joe Mauer fly out to left, Torii Hunter worked a two-out walk to put runners at first and second with young slugger Kennys Vargas coming up to bat. Vargas singled before Duffy got out of the inning limiting the Twins to a single run.
Facing Twins starting pitcher Trevor May, the Royals got the scoring parade going with one out in the top of the second behind a Kendrys Morales dong hanging of the solo variety. Clearly Trevor May did not pay heed to the old saying, "Avoid the Cubanoid." Salvador Perez, Alcides Escobar, and Mike Moustakas strung together singles (with an Omar Infante strike out mixed in), and Lorenzo Cain hit a sacrifice fly to center to put the Royals up 2 - 1 in the third. The Royals would hold the lead from there on out.
(h/t to Drenon)
Both offenses fell quiet for the next few innings, but the Royals put up three more runs in the top of the sixth to put the Royals up 5 - 1. Mike Moustakas scored first on a Torii Hunter throwing error following a Lorenzo Cain double. Eric Hosmer doubled and eventually Salvador Perez singled to score him.
The Royals turned to Danny Duffy to make the start this afternoon. Despite a pitch count of only 89, Duffy ended up handing the ball over to Ryan Madson with just one out recorded in the seventh inning. Duffy cruised through clean second and third innings, worked around a one-out Vargas single in the fourth, and again went 1-2-3 in the fifth. In the sixth, however, he ran into a bit of trouble as Dozier and Mauer started the inning with a double and then a single that Dozier upon which Dozier was held at third. Hunter flew out to Alex Rios, plating Dozier, and then Duffy induced an inning-ending double play. Duffy then kicked off the seventh by allowing a Trevor Plouffe hung dong, and a batter later, Duffy would give way to Ryan Madson.
The two runs that Duffy gave back after being given the gift of a 5 - 1 lead would prove to mean very little as the Royals would tally six more runs in the eighth inning despite only recording two hits. The key to this inning was the new market inefficiency that the team has been exploiting. Having taken a page from The Book of Don Baylor, both Alex Gordon and Alex Rios reached by getting plunked. Kendrys Morales walked. So did Mike Moustakas. So did Lorenzo Cain. Add in a few singles, throw an error in for taste, and you had the makings of a disastrous inning for the Twins. Jarrod Dyson, who replaced Alex Rios in the field after he was hit in the hand with a J.R. Graham fastball, singled in the ninth and was driven in by an Omar Infante double bringing their run total to an even dozen.
Every Royal batsman reached base at least once. Morales, Moustakas, Gordon, and birthday boy Lorenzo Cain all drew walks. Morales added a double to the hung dong and walk he recorded. Cain, Hosmer, and Infante each doubled. The Royals compiled 13 hits, four walks, two HBPs, and Salvador Perez reached and eventually scored on an error. There was no relenting. This is apparently what they do now.
As Dave Pirner once opined, this "runaway train, never comin' back, runaway train, tearin' up the track." Little did the Minneapolitan songsmith know he was presaging the Royals offense in the first week of the 2015 season.
With Tuesday being an off-day, the Royals will be the only undefeated team in baseball for at at least another 48 hours.