The Kansas City Royals — baseball’s hottest team by far — are suddenly back in the thick of the things in the hunt for the American League Central crown.
James Shields looked ace-like in Saturday’s 5-0 blanking of the Giants, allowing just four hits (and no runs) over nine innings while striking out five for his first shutout since September 2012. And outfielder Alex Gordon, the second-best player in the game this season according to FanGraphs’ WAR, went 2-for-4 with a homer, a single, and two runs scored.
The Royals are 9-1 since July 30 and a mere 1 1/2 games back of Detroit in the AL Central standings.
If the 2014 season ended today, it would be Anaheim hosting Kansas City in the AL Wild Card Game.
Your box scores and recaps from Saturday …
Indians 3, Yankees 0
Tigers 2, Blue Jays 3 (10 innings)
Cardinals 3, Orioles 10
Rays 4, Cubs 0
Padres 2, Pirates 1
Giants 0, Royals 5
Dodgers 1, Brewers 4
Marlins 4, Reds 3
Rangers 3, Astros 8
Mets 2, Phillies 1 (11 innings)
Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 14
Twins 4, Athletics 9
White Sox 2, Mariners 1 (10 innings)
Nationals 4, Braves 1 (11 innings)
Red Sox 4, Angels 5 (19 innings)
The Marlins announced on Sunday that outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will defend his Home Run Derby title when the city of Miami host’s the All-Star Game festivities next month.
Stanton, 27, defeated Todd Frazier in the finals of last year’s Home Run Derby at Petco Park, hitting 20 home runs to Frazier’s 13. Stanton hit a total of 61 home runs in the Derby. This will be the third Home Run Derby in which Stanton has participated.
Stanton also went 1-for-3 with a solo home run to help the Marlins defeat the Cubs 4-2 on Sunday. He’s now batting .274/.357/.551 with 20 home runs and 49 RBI in 311 plate appearances.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Rangers after four innings due to soreness in his right oblique. After the game, Hicks said he expects to go on the 10-day disabled list and miss the next three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.
Hicks was 1-for-2 with a single before departing on Sunday. He entered the game batting .288/.397/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 198 plate appearances. It is by far the best season of his career.
Jacoby Ellsbury is on his way back from a concussion, so the Yankees will only have to bridge the gap in center field for a week or two. Mason Williams could draw some starts in center field in the meantime.