KANSAS CITY, Mo. On the heels of the Royals first series victory in more than three weeks, manager Ned Yost was asked Sunday afternoon if he took any special satisfaction in beating a division leader if it could provide any respite from a long season.
Honestly, he said, leaning forward in his chair, the answer to that is no.
In the next 113 words, he explained that even with an eye slanted toward the future, the objective has not been lost. It is still to win now. To string together positive outcomes over the final five weeks. To win more series.
Three days later, the Royals won another, albeit an abbreviated one.
The Royals won back-to-back series for the first time in 2018, sweeping a two-game set against the Tigers with a 9-2 victory Wednesday afternoon.
They stockpiled four consecutive crooked-number innings for the first time since 2013. At one point Wednesday afternoon, the Royals (42-91) collected seven extra-base hits in the span of 12 at-bats, a charge led by home runs from shortstop Adalberto Mondesi and left fielder Alex Gordon.
Gordon hit a line drive shot in the third, moving into fourth place in Royals history with 170 home runs for his career. In the middle of the game, Royals starter Danny Duffy who picked up the win on the mound said he informed Gordon of his milestone.
Gordons response? I dont care, according to Duffy, laughing as he recalled the exchange.
Gordon replied with a clarification. I didnt say (that). I didnt know at the time, so I was just surprised.
His response a couple of hours later: Anytime youre with an organization as long as Ive been and have been fortunate to be here as long as Ive been, youre going to pass some people. Im just an old guy moving up the list.
Mondesis totals are just getting started. A day after homering from the right side of the plate, he stepped into the opposite batters box and crushed a ball just shy of the right-field fountains, a 410-foot two-run shot that put the Royals on top. Two innings later, he tripled into the right-field corner.
Any hope or glimpse of the Royals first cycle in 28 seasons was thwarted by a bases-loaded walk in the fifth. Mondesi had four RBIs. The last Royals player to hit for the cycle was George Brett in 1990.
All of that came in support of Duffy. He had a rough start. Smooth sailing afterward.
Duffy allowed an opening-inning run and was frustrated with his command and likely the strike zone of home plate umpire Angel Hernandez. After he induced an inning-ending popout from Ronny Rodriguez, Duffy screamed in anger on his way off the mound.
Better vibes followed. Duffy (8-11) did not allow a hit in his final five innings. He completed six innings of one-run ball, the extended first inning preventing a longer day. He threw 103 pitches and allowed just two hits while striking out six.
It was just the second victory in eight decisions this year at Kauffman Stadium for Duffy, who entered the day with a 6.83 ERA at his home park.
It was a grind, man, Duffy said. The offense took care of business. Its easy to go out there with a lead that they provided me with. So it was cool all the way around.
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