KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Guess all it takes is a Cy Young winner to show up and get the Royals’ offense going again.
For the third time in a week, the Royals knocked out a Cy Young winner, this time Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke, in a 5-3 win Monday night that snapped a four-game skid.
Last week the Royals roughed up Detroit’s Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.
The Royals battered Greinke for all five runs and 11 hits as the former Royal didn’t make it out of the sixth inning.
And two of the players who were a big part of the Greinke trade to Milwaukee — Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar — helped fuel the offense. Cain had two hits and an RBI, and Escobar had two hits, including a triple, scored two runs and drove in another.
Manager Ned Yost said there is no magic formula to beating great pitchers.
"I don’t think it’s that we’re more focused," Yost said. "We’re always focused. It just happens (that we beat them)."
Once again right-hander Jeremy Guthrie was on top of his game. Guthrie went 7 2/3 innings and gave up just two runs. He struck out five and now has 23 Ks in his last three starts.
"Tonight (the Dodgers) were pretty aggressive early in the count and we took advantage of that," Guthrie said. "… We tried to throw some more borderline pitches and let our defense do its thing."
— In the clutch, part I. Yost and the Royals have been lamenting for four straight games about the lack of any clutch hits — well, they got plenty Monday night. And Jarrod Dyson was behind two of them. In the second inning with two out and Escobar on second, Dyson lined a single into left-center to make it 2-0. Then in the sixth, Dyson again struck with two out, singling to right field and driving in Escobar once more. In all, Dyson had three hits and two RBI — his first three-hit, two-RBI game in the majors. He also stole two bases. Oh, and he made a great catch against the wall to rob Yasiel Puig of extra bases.
Puig even tipped his cap to Dyson after the great catch. "I didn’t see that," Dyson said. "But I gave him a hat tip, too. Good sportsmanship."
Dyson said the reason the Royals were able to beat three Cy Young winners in a week was simple: "Just stuck to our game plan. We went in with a plan and executed it."
— In the clutch, part II. Escobar, too, deserves a hat tip. He got a two-out single in the second, and then ripped a two-out triple in the sixth that scored Salvador Perez, making it 4-0. Escobar almost had an inside-the-park homer as his shot down the line in right eluded a sliding Puig. The ball skipped into the corner, but third-base coach Mike Jirschele wisely held Esky at third.
"That was a big run at the time, to get up four," Yost said. "And he played great defense all game, too. That’s what he does."
— Big Sal with a bomb. Perez got the Royals’ struggling offense going with a huge blast to left-center, a 403-foot shot that gave the Royals a 1-0 lead. Perez also rifled a double off Greinke in the sixth. He came into the game hitting .355 (27 for 76) in June.
"He’s just going up there and having great at-bats," Yost said. "He’s got a good approach and he’s sticking to it."
— Slumping Hoz. First baseman Eric Hosmer continues to struggle immensely at the plate. He went 0 for 4 and now is hitting just .248 on the season. Worse yet, Hoz is showing absolutely no patience at the plate. He hasn’t drawn a walk since Friday the 13th — that was 46 at-bats ago. On the plus side, Hoz hasn’t let it affect his defense. He made two brilliant plays in the field, diving toward the line on each to take hits away.
— Nit-picky time. While most of the Royals got pretty good swings against Greinke, Mike Moustakas wasn’t one of them. Moose, who has been swinging better lately, looked off-balance and lost against Greinke. Moose twice fouled out weakly to the third baseman, and also flied out to short center. Then in the eighth, he fouled out to short left field against Chris Perez.
— Nothing. Really, there can’t be any other complaints on a night in which the Royals snapped a four-game losing streak and beat yet another Cy Young winner. The Royals will face their fourth Cy Young winner Tuesday night in Clayton Kershaw. "We ain’t too worried," Dyson said. "We know what we got to do."