by John Viril—
Reserve outfielder Jarrod Dyson proved his worth in Sunday’s 4-2 12th inning victory over the Chicago White Sox. Dyson punched out two hits in four at bats, stole two bases, scored the go-ahead run, and saved the game with a clutch outfield assist by throwing out the potential winning run at home plate in the bottom of the 10th. The win gave the Royals a sweep in Chicago for the first time since 1999. It also extended their current winning streak to 6-games.
Jarrod Dyson told beat reporter Dick Kaegel, “The ball was hit and I tried my best not to run too hard and bobble it. I made sure to catch it first and when I caught it and looked up, I just saw the guy just hitting third. I didn’t try to do too much on the throw, just get it there on one hop. I did a great job of doing that and Salvy did a great job of making the play.”
Manager Ned Yost had to be glad he wrote Dyson’s name on the lineup card.
Jarrod Dyson, however, was not the only hero on the day. LF Alex Gordon brought in the winning runs by slamming hitting his 10th home run on the season. The drive broke a 4-36 slump for Gordon.
The victory allowed Kansas City to reach .500 (51-51) for the first time since June 18, and pull within 5 games of the 2nd wild-card playoff spot. The Royals remain 7 games behind Central Division leader Detroit. This is the latest the Royals have been at .500 or better since the 2003 season. Meanwhile, the series sweep continued Chicago’s fall toward the American League cellar. The White Sox now have the 2nd worst record in the A.L.—6 games better than the rebuilding Houston Astros.
Kansas City’s surge cannot help but impact general manager Dayton Moore’s deadline strategy. CBS sports’ Danny Knobler, for one, expects the Royals will now be nothing but buyers on the trade market. Blogger Rany Jazayerli asserts that Dayton Moore can still trade bullpen arms without damaging Kansas City’s 2013 prospects. He makes a strong case that the Royals can trade Luke Hochevar while still strengthening the pitching staff if they call up Danny Duffy from AAA Omaha and move struggling starter Wade Davis to the pen.
For the first time in his Kansas City career, Dayton Moore has a realistic shot of putting his team in the playoffs by making the right moves—either this season or in 2014.
Dayton, now is your time to shine.