KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- First they sweep the New York Yankees. Now they've swept the Los Angeles Dodgers.
What gives with these supposedly-lowly Kansas City Royals? Three weeks ago, they were on track to lose more than 110 games. But since Buddy Bell became their manager they've won 11 of 15, including a 9-6 defeat of Los Angeles on Thursday night that gave them a three-game sweep of the Dodgers.
The victory also gave them the distinction of being the only team to have three-game sweeps of the Yankees and Dodgers in one year, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Of course, interleague play didn't begin until 1997.
"I'm not going to try to figure it out because when we figure it out, it might end," outfielder Emil Brown said. "I'm not going to try to figure it out. We're going to keep rolling with it."
"Buddy has given us a lot of confidence," Castillo said. "He says, 'You guys know how to play the game, you've got to prepare yourself to play the game mentally."'
Only one of the six runs in the sixth against Derek Lowe (5-7) was earned. With one out in the sixth, David DeJesus and Matt Stairs singled, and Brown reached on shortstop Antonio Perez's error as DeJesus scored, making it 3-3.
The Dodgers left the bases loaded twice and left 11 runners on base.
"We stranded runners, we didn't get the job done defensively in the sixth inning and it cost us the ballgame," manager Jim Tracy said. " Derek Lowe deserved better than he got. I can tell you that."
After Brown reached in the sixth, Terrence Long singled and was forced at second on Shane Costa's fielder's choice grounder that scored Stairs.
As Royals fans who've had little to cheer about roared louder and louder, Mark Teahen hit an RBI single, Castillo hit a two-run double and Ruben Gotay greeted reliever Frankquelis Osoria with an RBI single.
Until then, Lowe had retired 11 in a row.
"At no point did you think they were going to score six runs," Lowe said.
"You've got to give them credit. I didn't see them play earlier this year. But apparently Buddy's got them playing really good. They put together some good at-bats and they kicked our tails for three games in a row."
The Royals, who were 13-37 when Bell took over on May 31, also won their season-best fifth in a row. They hadn't done that in almost exactly two years.
"I'm a big part of this team, don't get me wrong," said Bell, who keeps trying to deflect the credit.
"I have responsibilities. I know I'm capable of carrying those responsibilities out. But the players win games. Sometimes you've just got to stay out of their way and that's what I'm doing now."
The seven hits in the sixth were a season high for the Royals, who got their ninth run in the seventh on Long's RBI double. Every Royals starter had a hit.
The Royals took a 2-0 lead on Stairs' sacrifice fly in the first and Castillo's RBI single in the second, then Olmedo Saenz had an RBI single for the Dodgers in the third.
Jason Grabowski hit an 0-1 pitch from Greinke over the fence in right for a 3-2 lead.
Greinke, who was coming off the worst start of his career when he gave up 15 hits and 11 earned runs at Arizona, went five innings and was charged with three runs and eight hits.
Pinch-hitter Jayson Werth hit a two-run double in the ninth for the Dodgers, who scored only three runs while losing the first two games of the series.
One thing spurring on the Royals may be that people are scared for their jobs with a new boss in town.
"I feel a lot of guys are rooting other guys on, maybe competing with other guys right now, just trusting other guys," Wood said. "You've got to prove yourself to a guy who hasn't watched our team that much."
- According to Elias, the Angels and Seattle Mariners also swept the Yankees and Dodgers in one season since interleague play began, but both were not three-game sweeps.
- The Royals got good news when 1B Mike Sweeney was not put on the disabled list. Sweeney was hurt Wednesday when a runner ran into his outstretched arm. He's day-to-day with a sore left wrist and elbow, but more tests will be done Friday.
- Dodgers third base coach Glenn Hoffman was back in the dugout but not on the field after getting hit in the head by a ball during batting practice Wednesday. Tracy said Hoffman was still "a little cloudy."