KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Billy Butler is hot at the plate and the Kansas City Royals are even hotter.
Butler homered and drove in three runs and right fielder Nori Aoki threw out two runners in the same inning as the Royals beat the Giants 4-2 Friday night for their fifth straight victory.
The Royals, who have not been in the playoffs since winning the 1985 World Series, hold a half-game lead for the second AL wild card. They have won 13 of 16.
Butler, who is hitting .423 in the past seven games, homered with two out in the first off Madison Bumgarner (13-9). In the past 13 games, Butler has four home runs and 11 RBIs.
“Those are feeling really good,” Butler said. “Bumgarner is one of the best pitchers in the National League and in baseball in general. I just caught one out front. He battled all night, throwing a complete game. We capitalized on a few mistakes and got some runs across.”
Said Bumgarner of Butler’s homer, “It just caught a bit too much of the middle of the plate. He’s a good hitter.”
Butler singled home the go-ahead run in the two-run sixth, which was aided by throwing errors on Giants infielders Michael Morse and Matt Duffy. Alex Gordon had an RBI single.
“Morse had more time than he thought,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “You’d just like to get one out there. Duffy knew he came of the bag and was trying to get the out (at first).”
The Giants scored twice in the third on Joaquin Arias’ double and Matt Duffy’s single. Aoki prevented a bigger inning, throwing out Hunter Pence at third and Arias at home.
“You might get two in a game, but never two in an inning,” Aoki said through a translator.