Winners of eight straight games and nine of their first thirteen contests out of All-Star break, the Kansas City Royals’ latest victory came behind one of Eric Hosmer’s strongest career performances.
The 27 year-old first baseman led Kansas City to a 16-2 victory behind his second career five-hit game, which featured a grand slam, four singles, six RBIs and a stolen base. This marked his fifth multi-hit effort since All-Star break, all which have included at least one home run.
“The first three at-bats I didn’t really square any balls up but I got a couple hits out of it,” Hosmer said following the victory. “Later on throughout the game, I felt a little better and better.”
Despite missing a second straight trip to the MLB All-Star game, Hosmer still ranks at the top among first base leaders in most offensive categories. He leads all positional counterparts with 122 hits and a .319 batting average, while his OPS (.857) stands more than 30 points above his highest season mark set in 2015.
Hosmer’s play has made an impact in divisional matchups, as he now sports a .386 batting average, 8 home runs and 27 RBIs against AL Central opponents.
His consistency has helped the Royals stay in contention with only 5 division losses since June, heading into Thursday just 1.5 games back of the Cleveland Indians for the division lead and jumping the Tampa Bay Rays for the second AL Wild Card spot.
“As a team, we’re in a good spot right now,” Hosmer said.
While Hosmer could become a free agent next winter without a new contract offer, the performance fulfills Kansas City’s win-now philosophy. The Royals are just two seasons removed from a World Series championship, and Hosmer projects to be a major piece once again in pursuit of the team’s third American League pennant in four years.
The Royals’ second series of a nine-game roadtrip begins on Friday against the Boston Red Sox.