The Royals completed their sweep in Oakland, guaranteeing a winning road trip with a 5-3 win on Sunday. The Athletics stranded nine baserunners and committed two errors, including a costly one that would give the Royals a lead they would not relinquish. The Royals now stand at 44-28 with a 5 1/2 game lead in the Central Division and the best playoff odds in the league.
For five innings, the Royals offense did not look like one that would score a single run, much less five. The Royals loaded the bases in the third inning, but overall managed just three hits over the first five frames. Jeremy Guthrie ran into trouble in the second inning, giving up two runs to give Oakland a 2-0 lead. But Guthrie would pitch quite effectively other than that, lasting six innings without giving up another run and striking out a season high seven hitters.
Kansas City finally got to one-time Royals pitcher Jesse Chavez in the sixth inning when Mike Moustakas doubled to begin the inning and Kendrys Morales followed up with a single to put runners on the corners. With one out, Salvador Perez hit a ground ball to third baseman Max Muncy. Muncy decided to go home, but a high throw allowed Moustakas to score and Morales to end up at third. It was Oakland's 74th error of the season, by far the most in baseball (they would add their 75th later in the game).
After an intentional walk to Alex Gordon to load the bases, Alex Rios finally contributed offensively for what seems like the first time in a month, with a sacrifice fly to tie the game. The bottom of the order proved to be the heroes of the game, as Omar Infante singled home Perez to give the Royals a 3-2 lead. Salvador Perez padded the lead with a two-run home run in the eighth to seal the victory.
The Royals did pull Eric Hosmer and Alcides Escobar from the game due to finger injuries. Escobar may be able to play tomorrow, Hosmer will likely get the day off.
The Royals defense is terrific, but one does not fully recognize what an advantage a great defense can be until you see an opponent give away a game on defense. The Royals have won 14 of their last 19 and are really looking like the cream of the crop in the league this year. They still may have some flaws, but this is starting to look like a team that, with perhaps a move or two, can be the favorites to win the pennant and once again make it ALWAYS OCTOBER.