Two teams that were seemingly going nowhere last month are beginning to make waves

Kansas City won for the 11th time in its last 13 games on Monday, getting a 2-1 decision at Cleveland. San Diego won its seventh straight game, defeating the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants 5-3 in 13 innings on the road.

The Royals went 4-19 during one stretch earlier this season and were in last place in the AL Central on June 5. On Tuesday, they were in second place with a 34-34 record.

“We’re grinding out wins now, so I’ll take it,” said James Shields, who got a no-decision on Monday. “We’re real resilient as a team. Even when things got rough, we never gave up. We believe in ourselves.”

The key for the Royals has been their pitching. They ranked first in the AL with a 3.35 ERA going into Tuesday’s game.

The Padres started the season 5-15, but went 31-19 in their next 50 games. They moved into third place, just a game behind Arizona, going into Tuesday’s game.

Monday’s win over the Giants was Padres manager Bud Black’s 500th career win. It came a day after the Padres swept the NL West-leading Diamondbacks, thanks to a three-run homer by Kyle Blanks in the eighth inning.

It’s still early, but both the Royals and Padres are moving in the right direction.

Surging Scherzer: Max Scherzer doesn’t get as much attention as teammate Justin Verlander, but the Detroit Tigers right-hander is starting to get noticed. Scherzer stayed unbeaten in a 5-1 win over Baltimore on Monday night, striking out 10 to improve his record to 10-0.

With the victory, Scherzer became the first pitcher to begin a season 10-0 since Roger Clemens went 11-0 for Toronto in 1997. He’s also the first to strike out at least six batters per game in his first 14 starts in a season since Pedro Martinez in 2001 with Boston.

Only George Mullin, in 1909, had a better start in Tigers history, at 11-0.

“Yeah, you have to savor this a little bit because of the history of this organization,” Scherzer told MLB.com. “It’s special to be 10-0. But at the end of the day, I don’t measure my success on being 10-0. I measure my success on everything else I do on the mound.”

Scherzer has been one of baseball’s best pitchers since last June. In his last 24 decisions, Scherzer has gone 21-3 with a 2.78 ERA and 259 strikeouts. Scherzer lowered his ERA to 3.08. With his fastball reaching the upper 90s, Scherzer is second in the majors with 116 strikeouts.

StatsWatch: Here are the major leagues top hitters, through Monday -

  • Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, .358
  • Yadier Molina, Cardinals, .355
  • Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies, .347
  • Chris Davis, Orioles, .337
  • Howie Kendrick, Angels, .335
  • Jhonny Peralta, Tigers, .332
  • Marco Scutaro, Giants, .332
  • Jean Segura, Brewers, .330
  • Freddie Freeman, Braves, .327
  • Manny Machado, Orioles, .322

Quotable: “Now that I’m having to talk about it, it’s a distraction because people are talking about it. I don’t love the fact that I have to talk about it.” — Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw on his ongoing contract negotiations.

Diamond Notes: The Detroit Tigers placed pitcher Anibal Sanchez and catcher Alex Avila on the 15-day disabled list on Monday. Sanchez has a strained right shoulder, and Avila has a bruise on his left forearm after being hit by a pitch on Sunday…Tampa Bay is calling up outfielder Wil Myers, who is hitting .286 with 14 homers for Class AAA Durham (N.C.)…Braves catcher Evan Gattis has been put on the 15-day DL with a strained right oblique. Gattis, who earned a backup job in spring training, has 14 home runs and 37 RBIs this season…The Cleveland Indians hosted “Puppypalooza” at Progressive Field on Monday night, and 349 dogs were in attendance.

Copyright 2013 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media


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