Royals rev up the radar gun, move into 1st

The Kansas City Royals have put some heat on the Detroit Tigers.

They sure brought the heat Monday in the win that put them into first place in the American League Central.

Four Royals flamethrowers combined on a three-hitter in a 3-2 win over the Oakland Athletics.

Yordano Ventura, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland combined to post an average fastball velocity of 96.5 mph and an average overall velocity of 94.2 mph.

That’s the second fastest average pitch velocity in a game this season, surpassed only by a July 4 game between the Royals and the Cleveland Indians, in which the Kansas City pitchers averaged 94.3 mph.

Each of the Royals' power arms brought something good to the table in this victory.

Yordano Ventura (average fastball: 96.3 mph) had his third straight stellar start and allowed two runs in six innings. Although Ventura is not overpowering hitters the way he did earlier in the season, he has figured out a way to win regardless. He has posted a 2.37 ERA in two wins and a no-decision over the past two weeks.

Kelvin Herrera followed that by averaging 99.2 mph on 14 fastballs in an 18-pitch seventh inning in which he struck out two.

Highest Average Fastball Velocity
Bullpens in 2014

Herrera has not allowed an earned run in his past 16 appearances -- a span of 17 1/3 innings.

Wade Davis was the slowpoke of the group, with a fastball that averaged 94.5 mph, about a mile per hour below his season average. But of the eight fastballs he threw, seven were for strikes in a two-whiff eighth inning.

Davis is putting together one of the more amazing relief seasons. He has a 0.88 ERA in 49 appearances and has allowed one extra-base hit to the 201 batters he’s faced.

Greg Holland averaged 96.8 mph with his fastballs in converting his ninth straight save chance. The most important of those pitches was a 97-mph heater, with which he induced a double play after the Athletics put the first two men on base in the ninth inning.

Holland hit 97 mph on the radar gun seven times and matched his season high.

Stat of the Day

This marked the fourth time the Royals have had two win streaks of at least eight games in a single season. They won 10 straight earlier in the year.

The previous three times -- 1977, 1978, 1980 -- they went on to make the postseason.