After losing a ball in the sun in the sixth inning that resulted in two runs and the evaporation of a one-run lead, Dyson rebounded with a key RBI single in the Royals' five-run seventh inning that sparked a 7-3 win over the Athletics on Thursday, the team's 10th victory in 11 games and 18th in its last 22 matches.
"If you've ever played baseball and had a ball in the sun, it's a horrible feeling," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "You can't find it, you know it's coming, you know it's close, but you can not find it and he battled it all he could to try to catch that ball, and at the last second he even threw his hand out even to try to do something."
Nori Aoki's game-winning two-run triple and Billy Butler's single that drove in a pair of runs highlighted the five-run seventh. But Dyson set up the Aoki and Butler heroics with a liner to right that knotted the score at 3.
"That little guy has got a way of redeeming himself in a lot of different ways and I knew he would do that," said Yost, whose team took three of four against the Athletics for their seventh straight series victory.
Royals starter James Shields (six innings, three runs) began the sixth inning with a 2-1 lead and retired the first two A's he faced. But Stephen Vogt kept the inning alive with a single. Shields appeared to have worked around the two-out hit when Josh Reddick lofted a lazy fly ball to Dyson. But the center fielder lost the ball in the sun and it clanked off his bare hand. Vogt came around to score and Reddick was awarded an RBI triple. Alberto Callaspo made matters worse for Dyson and the Royals with an RBI single to put Oakland up, 3-2.
"I felt bad, man, I felt real bad," Dyson said. "Because we had the lead right there and they came back and snatched the lead from us so right there you've just got to tell yourself, 'You know what, whenever the opportunity occurs to pick yourself up you've got to do it.'"
That opportunity came in the bottom of the seventh thanks to one-out hits by Erik Kratz (single) and Christian Colon (double).
Dyson fell behind 0-2 against Athletics reliever Ryan Cook, but he rocketed the next offering into right field to score Kratz. Aoki brought Kratz and Dyson in -- and brought the Kauffman Stadium to its highest decibel of the afternoon -- with his triple down the right-field line.
"That was a huge triple by Nori," Yost said. "We had the right guys on, [Dyson] in front of him, so we could put some runs on the board."
Butler, who's now hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games, also attacked right field with a liner at Reddick. Alcides Escobar made a mad dash from first to home to score on Butler's single.
"Billy has turned his whole season around," Yost said.
Kansas City started the homestand 2 1/2 games behind the Tigers in the American League Central. Despite facing a formidable hurler each game -- including the likes of Madison Bumgarner, Jon Lester and Jeff Samardzija -- the Royals emerged half a game ahead of Detroit.
"I think every pitcher we faced [this homestand] was an All-Star or has been an All-Star, and to take six out of seven? Pretty good," Yost said.
Five relievers combined to shut out the Athletics in the final three frames. Francisley Bueno and Aaron Crow took care of the seventh, with a scoreless eighth from Wade Davis setting up Jason Frasor and Greg Holland in the ninth.
Colon made his second straight start and finished 3-for-4 with a double. Kratz, filling in for Salvador Perez, collected a pair of hits.
Kansas City's next test comes Friday against the Twins in the start of a nine-game road trip. The Royals will travel to Colorado then Texas after their stop in Minnesota.
"They're confident, they're playing well, and they're ready for the last six weeks of the season," Yost said.
Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com.