Royals finish tough road trip on positive note

Back-to-back wins after 8-game skid earn series victory over White Sox

Royals finish tough road trip on positive note

CHICAGO -- If nothing else, a dreadful road trip ended with an upswing.

After losing a season-high eight straight games to start the trip, the Royals bounced back with two straight wins, including Sunday's 3-1 win over the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

"It's a series win," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "You have to forget [the losing]. We ended a streak and now we're starting a streak. You just keep looking at the positives. We won a series today and now we just move forward."

With a three-game series starting with the first-place Indians at Kauffman Stadium on Monday, the victories could provide a spark for the Royals.

"Yeah, definitely," utility man Whit Merrifield said. "It comes to a point where you can't dwell on the past. You can't look back. You hope you get momentum as we head home."

What had been missing the whole trip -- sound starting pitching -- suddenly emerged here over the weekend. Danny Duffy struck out 10 in six shutout innings on Saturday. And Yordano Ventura struck out 10 while giving up just one run over seven innings on Sunday.

"Anytime you see one of our starters go out and have a performance like Duffy did yesterday," Ventura said through interpreter Pedro Grifol, "you want to come out today and try to duplicate that and keep the same energy, and keep the winning streak going."

As bad as the eight-game losing streak was, it didn't even bury the Royals, who are three games back and tied for second place in the American League Central with the Tigers.

"It's going to be like this the whole year," Yost said. "I don't think any team is going to jump up. I think we are well well-matched. We're all pretty comparable. It's going to be a dogfight all year long."

Merrifield doesn't see the Royals going into any more big slides.

"I hope it's not that big of a roller coaster, at least on the losing side," Merrifield said. "Hopefully we can salvage some of the series going forward with a win here and a win there. Teams are going to go through this, the ups and downs.

"You're going to get hot and get cold. You have to just scratch out wins during those cold stretches and I think we can do a better job of that down the road."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.