KANSAS CITY -- When the Royals were struggling at the start of the season, shortstop Alcides Escobar and left fielder Alex Gordon were as well, at least offensively. As Kansas City has won 11 of its past 13 games -- the latest a 3-2 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday -- Escobar and Gordon's production has improved. Manager Ned Yost said the correlation is no coincidence.
"Our streak coincided with [Escobar] and [Gordon] swinging the bat better," Yost said. "That's a big reason why we've put a nice little winning streak together."
During Saturday's game, Escobar went 3-for-3 and scored two runs. On one of them, the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, it was Gordon who drove him home with a triple, his first of the season.
"When he hit it over the first baseman, I said, 'I'm going to home plate no matter what,'" Escobar said.
Less than 24 hours before, Escobar and Gordon both hit two-out singles before scoring on Whit Merrifield's walk-off double. In June, Escobar is batting .265 and Gordon .231, both markedly better than the under-.200 averages they sported in April and May. After going 24 games without an extra-base hit, Gordon has eight in his past 17 games.
"What it means is a nice little winning streak," said Yost, who added that the Royals' offensive flow has improved.
In Saturday's win, Escobar, who said he is trying to improve his patience at the plate, led off the third inning with a triple, also his first of the season. Two batters later, Merrifield hit a fly ball to shallow left field. Escobar said Royals first-base coach Rusty Kuntz told him that if the ball was hit in the air to left, Escobar was running. So as Steve Pearce caught the ball, Escobar took off. He slid into home plate safely, tying the game, 1-1. The Blue Jays challenged the call, but it stood.
Escobar was asked if Gordon had been the one in left field, would he have run? He laughed.
"If Alex Gordon's in left field, I'm staying at third base."