These Runnin’ Royals broke open Monday’s 3-1 win over the Mariners with a little switch on the traditional hit-and-run play.
With one out in the fifth inning of a 1-1 game, Jarrod Dyson reached on an infield hit. As Dyson tried for a stolen base, Seattle second baseman Nick Franklin went to cover the base.
The batter Alcides Escobar then punched a ground ball into the vacancy on the right side of the infield and Dyson ran all the way to third.
“It worked out perfect for us,” Dyson said. “I told Esky, ‘Sometimes if I get on and take off, that hole is open, shoot for it.’ I wouldn’t mind. I’ll take first to third over a stolen base all day.”
Escobar then swiped second, the first of his two on the day. After a wild pitch by Seattle ace Felix Hernandez scored Dyson, Escobar came home on a sacrifice fly by Emilio Bonifacio.
Will Smith and Greg Holland took care of things from there as the Royals stayed in the playoff hunt.
Manager Ned Yost said the pivotal play wasn’t his call, which is what makes it a run-and-hit instead of the other way around.
“A hit-and-run is a play I put on,” Yost said. “A run-and-hit is a play that’s not put on but looks like a hit-and-run.”
Making the play all the more impressive was Escobar’s hit came against Hernandez, a former Cy Young Award winner.
“I knew Dyson was going on that pitch and I saw the ball and tried to hit it to the second baseman,” Escobar said. “I said, ‘I can do it.’”
And he did.
The Royals now have 128 stolen bases, the most in baseball.
Right-hander Felipe Paulino is hoping an extended rest period will help his ailing shoulder.
Paulino, who had reconstructive elbow surgery last season, won’t pitch for the rest of the season after experiencing shoulder troubles.
Paulino, 29, made seven rehab starts and allowed 23 runs and 35 hits in 27 2/3 innings. He struck out 26 batters but issued 15 walks.
“It’s been a long rehab,” Paulino said. “I’ve been working on my elbow, my elbow is fine ... but my shoulder is the thing right now. I’ve got big, big chronic inflammation there and it’s not going down. The only way to make it go down is to shut it down completely.”
Paulino hopes to play winter ball in Venezuela starting in about November.
“I feel bad for myself and I feel bad for the team, because sometimes I push myself too hard ... to show I can be back,” he said. “But I can’t right now. I have to listen to my body and my body says I can’t go right now.”
Center fielder Lorenzo Cain is making progress in his return from a strained left oblique muscle.
“I took some swings, took some outfield drills,” Cain said Monday. “I feel like it’s day-to-day right now. Hopefully, I can get back in there the next few days.
“I didn’t feel at it all during the running or outfield drills. Just getting the hitting together right now, just getting the timing. I still feel it a little bit when I hit.”
Cain ran on the base paths, doing drills that would mimic running through the bag at first, rounding first after a single, hitting a double, a triple and scoring from second base.
“I’ve been working, trying to get back out there as soon as possible, so we’ll see what happens,” Cain said. “Hopefully it continues to progress and I’ll join my teammates.”
Cain last played on Aug. 8.
OMAHA IN PLAYOFFS
Class AAA Omaha defeated Round Rock 8-4 on Monday and clinched the Pacific Coast League’s American Northern Division title. Carlos Pena had three hits and four RBIs.
**Pitchers Louis Coleman and Wade Davis are expected to rejoin the team today after a stint at Class A-Advanced Wilmington.
**The Royals now have 37 comeback wins this season.
**Monday’s win was in the Royals’ 35th game in their stretch of 44 in 44 days. Just nine to go before a day off on Sept. 12. They are 20-15 so far.
**Escobar has a six-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games.
**Third baseman Mike Moustakas had a hit and an RBI and he is batting .299 since the All-Star break.
To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4355 or send email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at Twitter.com/pgrathoff