MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Royals get back to their old tricks

Three stirring comebacks over White Sox helps Kansas City reach top of AL Central

Royals get back to their old tricks

The Kansas City Royals have accomplished so much the last two seasons that it's hard to be blown away by anything they do anymore.

OK, check that. They just did.

The Royals had themselves an amazing weekend even by their own high standards. One stunning victory followed by another and then another.

And they awake this Memorial Day back in a familiar spot-alone atop the American League Central at 27-22, a half-game ahead of the Cleveland Indians (26-22).

Three weekend victories over the Chicago White Sox are the kind that can build confidence and linger in the hearts and minds, especially of these new Royals.

New Royals?

First, a word about the rallies. The Royals trailed the White Sox 5-2 in the seventh inning on Friday, 7-1 in the ninth inning on Saturday and 4-2 in the eighth on Sunday.

They rallied to win all three games, outscoring the White Sox 15-1 in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

On one level, this kind of thing should be no surprise for a club that is on one of the great runs of recent years.

Since July 22, 2014, the Royals are 185-121, including the postseason. That's 17 more wins more than any other club (Cubs).

What makes this weekend different is that the Royals did it at a time when manager Ned Yost has thrown three new kids into the fire and watched them respond like, well, champions.

How deep is general manager Dayton Moore's farm system anyway? These new Royals -- second baseman Whit Merrifield, outfielder Brett Eibner and third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert -- are showing it off.

These changes come at a time when the Royals have lost three of their core guys -- third baseman Mike Moustakas, left fielder Alex Gordon and catcher Salvador Perez.

Must C: Royals' amazing comeback

Moustakas is gone for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee. Gordon is sidelined at least another month with a fractured right wrist. Perez is out for a few days with a left quad contusion.

These are the kinds of injuries that tear at the fabric of a team. To think the Royals could plug in replacements and keep winning is a stretch even for an organization that prides itself on depth and continuity.

Here's what Eibner, Merrifield and Cuthbert did against the White Sox: 12-for-25 with three doubles and two RBIs. They were in the middle of everything the Royals did this weekend.

Eibner was the last of the three new guys to be promoted, and in his first three big league games, he had five hits, two doubles and two RBIs. His run-scoring single completed a seven-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning on Saturday. Welcome to the show, kid.

Yost has tried to tell those of us on the outside that we don't always get the whole story with his team. He tells us there are important things that can't be measured. Trust and teamwork, he says, count for something, too.

We believe. These core guys -- Perez, Moustakas, first baseman Eric Hosmer -- came through the Minor Leagues together. They were billed as the group that would turn the entire franchise around.

That they have done, and along the way, Yost made believers of pretty much the whole world. The Royals have talent and depth as well as a certain intangible something that's impossible to fully quantify.

"When you watched them on television during the postseason last fall, you could see it," said pitcher Dillon Gee, who signed with the Royals during the offseason. "You could watch them and tell they were a bunch of guys that had each other's back."

There are lots of reasons the Royals are the envy of an entire sport. No team has been more disciplined in formulating a blueprint for winning and then having the organizational patience -- that would be owner David Glass and team president Dan Glass -- to execute that blueprint.

When baseball people speak of the Royals, they don't begin with a high-contact, low-home run offense or a dazzling defense or a pitching staff built around a great bullpen.

Instead, they begin with the fact that the Royals never strayed from the original plan. That David and Dan Glass allowed Moore and his baseball people to see it through even when the ride wasn't always smooth.

So in some ways, this wild weekend was simply an extension of what the Royals have done the last two years. Yost and his veteran players and coaches have embraced the new players and put them in a supportive environment.

In doing so, the players are in position to allow their talents to take over. Maybe that's the message of this weekend. The Royals are still the Royals.

Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.