MIAMI -- In a game filled with spectacular defensive gems and another outstanding performance from the bullpen, it was the bat of Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar that helped make the difference in a 5-2 series-clinching win over Miami on Thursday at Marlins Park.
Escobar homered in the fourth inning to give the Royals a 2-0 lead and then delivered the go-ahead RBI double in the sixth. He later scored in the frame on a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Kendrys Morales.
"I was looking for a fastball," said Escobar, who turned in his team-leading 35th multi-hit game of the season. "He threw me a cutter on the first pitch. The next pitch was a fastball, and I was waiting for it, swung the bat and hit the ball really good."
It marked his third homer of the season and first on the road since Aug. 21, 2015, in Boston.
Escobar came through again in his next at-bat. With Alex Gordon on second and no outs, Escobar went the other way with a double to extend the lead.
"I'm trying to move Gordon to third base," Escobar said. "I'm trying to hit the ball to right field. I stayed in there and took like four or five pitches and then got a double. That's a great at-bat right there."
The only Royals player to start in every game so far this season, Escobar finished Interleague Play hitting safely in the last 13 games and 19 of the 20. The Royals closed Interleague Play with a 10-10 mark.
Kansas City did so with some spectacular defensive plays, the highlight of which was center fielder Jarrod Dyson robbing Christian Yelich of a homer in the first inning.
"This team can play defense," Escobar said. "This team can make a lot of plays like that."
The team effort helped starter Edinson Volquez even his record at 10-10 (4.88 ERA), but not before a combined four innings of relief work from four pitchers out of the bullpen. Chris Young, Matt Strahm, Joakim Soria and Kelvin Herrera combined to extend the bullpen's club record for consecutive scoreless innings at 38 2/3.
"The pitching is really good right now, and we're winning games, that's the most important thing," Escobar said.
Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.