Opinion

Royals award winners for July

Paulo Orlando celebrated his eighth-inning solo home run to break a 10-10 tie against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 12 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Paulo Orlando celebrated his eighth-inning solo home run to break a 10-10 tie against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 12 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. JSLEEZER@KCSTAR.COM

The Kansas City Royals finished with a 17-11 record in July, and there were plenty of highlights in the month.

Player of the month

If this was a post-All Star break award, Eric Hosmer would be the choice. But with all of July to consider, the choice is Lorenzo Cain, who had the best power month of his career. Cain slugged five home runs, drove in 13 and slugged .667. His solo homer in the 13th inning won the July 18 game at Chicago, after the Royals gave up the lead in the ninth. Cain went only three games in the month without a hit and increased his batting average from .296 to .314.

Pitcher of the month

July was an excellent month for Franklin Morales (13 1/3 innings, one run) and Ryan Madson (13 games, 1.54 ERA). But Wade Davis was his usual sensational self. He appeared in 12 games and collected the most victories by a Royals pitcher in the month with four, and his 16 victories over the past two seasons are the most by any reliever in baseball. He surrendered a run (gasp!) in the crazy July 12 victory over the Blue Jays, but his consecutive innings streak of not allowing a home run stands at 125 2/3.

Best individual game

Before he suffered the strained groin, Alex Gordon had been on a tear at the plate, hitting .385 with a pair of home runs in eight July games. His best came on July 7, in the second game of the day against the Rays. Gordon went four for five with four RBI. The next day, Gordon suffered the injury that is expected to shelve him until September.

Best defensive play

Until the final days of the month, it might have been difficult to top Jarrod Dyson’s fling to home to complete a double play on July 8, five batters after he replaced Gordon, who left the game with a groin strain. But the acrobatic Omar Infante flip to Alcides Escboar and throw to Eric Hosmer to easily beat the Indians’ Robert Perez may be the defensive player of the year.

Most dramatic moment

The Royals and Blue Jays were one miserably hot afternoon away from the All-Star break, and the teams played like they were ready to move on with a combined seven errors. Toronto erased a 7-0 deficit and took an 8-7 lead. The game was 10-10 when Paulo Orlando slammed a solo home run in the eighth for the winning margin. Earlier in the week, Orlando hit a walk-off grand slam to beat the Rays.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BlairKerkhoff.

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