Youth can often spawn new hope and it seems the Kansas City Royals are proof of that.
Coming down the stretch of the 2011 season, the Royals are playing arguably their best baseball of the season as they won their fifth consecutive game with a 7-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday evening. The five wins in a row equals the high mark of the season thus far. The last time the Royals strung together five straight wins was September 2009.
Jeff Francis took to the mound for Kansas City for the final time of the year. Francis is being shut down after the start. He ended it on a high note, allowing two runs on eight hits over six innings pitched. He struck out and walked two each. He finishes his first season in Kansas City with a win and a 6-16 record overall.
Kansas City roughed up starter Mark Buehrle early and often as he took the loss and fell to 11-9. Melky Cabrera hit his 18th home run of the season in the first inning, a solo shot to give Kansas City an early 1-0 lead. The Royals would score once more in the inning on a Salvador Perez single.
Playing in front of his mother who was visiting from Venezuela, Perez was 3-for-4 at the plate and finished a home run short of the cycle. In his last at-bat he drew a walk. The 21-year old Perez has more than held his own at the big league level as he is batting .318 since his promotion from Omaha. On defense he was able to pick Tyler Flowers off first base, flashing the arm strength.
Ironically Alex Gordon, who has lead the Royals at the plate all season, was the lone player without a hit on Thursday, though he did draw two walks.
Cabrera had four hits, including a double to go along with his home run. With Cabrera's double, the Kansas City Royals have become the first organization to ever have all three starting outfielders finish the season with 40 RBI.
Billy Butler had two of the 16 hits for the Royals including his 19th home run of the year, a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning.