PAGING DR. VARGAS: Vargas, Morales Lead Royals Back into First Place

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In tonight’s series opener in Minneapolis, the Royals moved back into a tie for first in the AL Central thanks in large part to the effort of Jason Vargas. The veteran left-hander tossed six scoreless innings, allowing five hits while striking out two and not issuing a walk. His solid night did not come without stress, however. He pitched his way out of trouble in the third inning, inducing a double play ball from Torii Hunter with the bases loaded and one out. Vargas did what he needed to do: pitch confidently knowing that the defense behind him is second to none.

On the offensive side, the main story was Kendrys Morales. Perhaps the Royals’ best offseason acquisition, Morales jacked his seventh homer of the season in the 2nd inning to give KC a 2-0 lead. He continues to show that he is worthy of a spot in the All-Star game and the fans are taking notice. Morales now sits in third in the AL in RBI’s with 41, and he looks to continue to anchor the middle of the order for the Royals.  

The Twins got a respectable start from Phil Hughes, who went 7 and 2/3 innings, while giving up 3 runs. He exited after back-to-back singles off the bats of Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain in the 8th inning. Hosmer then drilled a single to drive in the Royals third run of the ballgame, giving some insurance to Wade Davis and Greg Holland, which they did not ultimately need. Davis faced the minimum in the 8th and Holland retired the side in order to close out a 3-1 victory for the Royals.

It was a big win for KC, who are back in a virtual tie with Minnesota for first place, 3 and ½ games ahead of Detroit. Now back to nine games over .500, the Royals will try to carry their recent momentum into tomorrow when Chris Young toes the slab against Trevor May. It will be a battle for the outright division lead, so expect the good guys to come out with a fire in their eyes. We may have been struggling lately, but there is nothing to panic about. The defending American League champs are in first place in June, and by the looks of it, will be facing the National League in the All-Star game in about a month. So wear your Royal Blue proudly, because it is a great time to be a baseball fan in Kansas City.

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Author: Jake Becker

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