Kansas City, Mo. The Alex Gordon whom the Kansas City Royals drafted second overall in 2005 is finally reaching expectations six years later.
Gordon matched his career-high with four hits, and Yamaico Navarro drove in three runs to the lead the Royals over the Baltimore Orioles, 9-4, on Thursday night.
Gordon hit .215 in 74 games last year and entered 2011 with a .244 average. With the four hits, Gordon hiked his average to .311. After he grounded out in his final at-bat, Billy Butler approached him in the dugout.
“I went down there and told him, ‘You couldn’t get five?”’ Butler said laughing. “He’s doing great. I’m happy for him. He’s swinging the bat better than I’ve ever seen him. I hope he can ride it and keep staying consistent like he is. He’s really turned the corner. He’s made a lot of adjustments and really come into his own.”
Gordon leads the Royals with 34 doubles and is tied for the team lead with 14 home runs.
“He’s as close as you can get to dominating right now,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He’s putting great at-bats together. He’s hitting the ball hard. He’s hitting doubles, home runs. He’s driving in runs. He’s doing everything. He had four great swings tonight and smoked the ball four times.”
The Royals sent 11 men to the plate in a six-run sixth inning to break open the game. The inning included eight hits with Navarro doubling home two runs and Chris Getz stroking a two-run single. Melky Cabrera and Butler added run-producing singles in the inning.
“We started that inning down a run,” Butler said. “Then we just broke out and put the game away. We took the momentum. We got some big hits here and big hits there. We put up nine runs and we cruised to an easy victory, which is always fun.”
The Royals had 17 hits with every starter having at least one.
Reliever Blake Wood (5-0) worked two hitless innings, walking two and striking out two, to pick up the victory. He pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth.