The two clubs usually aren’t in the playoff picture this late in the season, but this year’s different. Seattle on Tuesday was tied with Detroit for the final AL wild-card slot, while Kansas City led the AL Central by 2 games over the Tigers.
The Mariners took two out of three games from the Tigers in Detroit over the weekend to move in front for the last wild-card. Seattle has won 12 of its last 17 games and four straight series.
After Sunday’s 12-6 win over Minnesota, the Royals had won 20 of their last 25 games. It was the latest point in the season that Kansas City had been in first place since 2003.
Seattle’s pitching has been a key to its success. The Mariners’ starting pitchers have allowed three runs or less in each of the past 15 games. Seattle leads the major leagues with a 2.94 ERA overall.
Chris Young won his 12th game for Seattle on Sunday, beating Detroit 8-1. He allowed four hits and no runs in six innings while matching his career-high in wins. Young has won four straight games, and in his last 12 starts, his ERA has dipped to 2.45.
“With that lineup, you know you are going to get into trouble,” Young said of the Tigers. “The key is getting out of it, and I was able to miss bats when I needed to today.”
Kansas City, which ranks 14th in the majors in runs scored, poured it on in Sunday’s 12-6 win at Minnesota. The Royals started early with seven runs in the second inning, getting two-run singles by Alcides Escobar and Nori Aoki. Then they got home runs from Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez and Josh Willingham later in the game.
The Royals have won eight consecutive series, and they beat the Oakland A’s in two of those series this month.
In Kansas City’s last homestand, the Royals went 6-1, including a sweep over San Francisco.
“We feel pretty good about ourselves,” Royals manager Ned Yost said after a 7-3 win over Oakland last week. “I think every (starting) pitcher we faced on this homestand has been an All-Star and to take six out of seven is pretty good. I’m happy with where we’re at.”
StatsWatch: Hitting a triple is one of the toughest things to do in baseball, even for the speediest runners in the game. Here’s a list of who does it the most (through Sunday’s games):
- Dee Gordon, Dodgers, 10 triples
- Hunter Pence, Giants, 9
- Brandon Crawford, Giants, 9
- Yasiel Puig, Dodgers, 9
- Alex Rios, Rangers, 8
- Michael Bourn, Indians, 7
- Brett Gardner, Yankees, 7
- Billy Hamilton, Reds, 7
- Adeiny Hechavarria, Marlins, 7
- Adam Eaton, White Sox, 7
Diamond Notes: The New York Yankees have activated catcher Brian McCann from the seven-day concussion list. McCann was injured during a game on Aug. 8 at Cleveland…Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka threw in a bullpen session on Saturday for the first time since going on the disabled list on July 9th with a partial ligament tear in his right elbow…Pittsburgh placed right-handed pitcher Charlie Morton on the 15-day DL with right hip inflammation. Morton is 5-12 with a 3.84 ERA and hasn’t won since July 2…The Boston Red Sox are waiting to hear on whether they will be able to acquire Cuban defector Rusney Castillo. Castillo is projected to be an outfielder with plus speed and an average arm.
Copyright © 2014 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.