Jarrod Dyson clutched the game’s final out on Sunday afternoon and made his way toward the Royals dugout. Once he funneled through the handshake lineup, an on-field interview with the team’s television network beckoned.
The Royals scored seven runs in their latest victory, and Dyson scored none of them. But he still personified the team’s approach as they completed a sweep of the Giants.
Dyson went three for three, dropped a sacrifice bunt to advance a runner, collected 10 put-outs and stole three bases. He contributed to the team’s total of seven stolen bases, the most the Royals have had in one game since Aug. 1, 1998.
“It feels great,” Dyson said. “I’d rather take a three-for-four day than an oh-for-four day. Anytime I can make things happen, I try my best. I try to put pressure on the defense every time I can get on. I’m going to rip off my bags, I’m going to play my defense.”
The Royals lead the American League with 101 stolen bases. On Sunday, they found an ideal matchup, facing fallen Giants ace Tim Lincecum. Never contentious with the running game, Lincecum is an enviable target for a team that likes to gamble on the bases.
During pregame meetings, first-base coach Rusty Kuntz relayed to his players a secret well-known in the National League.
“Rusty did a good job of letting us know he’s pretty slow to the plate,” outfielder Alex Gordon said. “Maybe we could steal some bases today.”
Dyson also heaped praise upon Kuntz, who is beloved among the players. But he stopped short of saying Lincecum was the only reason for the base-running outburst.
“That’s what we do,” Dyson said. “We abuse everybody. Some pitchers are quick to the plate. That still doesn’t affect our running game. We’ve just got to be smarter in situations.”
They started early. Nori Aoki led off with an infield single in the first and swiped second soon after. In the second, Dyson did the same. Then he led a double steal after Aoki walked.
Two innings later, Alcides Escobar stole third. An RBI knock by Aoki removed Lincecum from the game, but the Royals kept chugging. Aoki stole second, now punishing backup catcher Andrew Susac and new reliever Juan Gutierrez. In the eighth, with the Royals leading by three, Dyson stole third.
“The focal point is getting on base,” manager Ned Yost said. “And then going from there, yeah, we try to take advantage when the opportunity exists to steal bases.”