While the surprise team in the NL is surely the Pirates, a case can be made that the Royals are out-doing themselves in the AL Central, where they trail Cleveland and Detroit by 4 1/2 games following Sunday's results.
Lough scored four times and drove in three runs, the last of which coming on his solo homer, giving the Royals an 8-7 lead in the eighth. Eric Hosmer's solo drive in the ninth provided the eventual winning margin.
With 121 at-bats in 34 games, Lough is batting a solid .314
Cleveland got a complete game, 4-0, shutout from Justin Masterson, while the Tigers were losing, 3-1 at Tampa Bay. The Indians have won four straight and are tied for the division lead with Detroit.
Jayson Werth also homered and doubled, driving in a run and scoring four times.
Washington is just a game over .500, at 41-40, but the rest of the division seems to be losing hope of catching the Braves. Philadelphia is 9 1/2 out, the Mets 13 back and Miami 18 games behind.
The Nationals hope to gain some ground when they open a four-game series at home against Milwaukee Monday. The Braves are home to start a three-game series with Miami on Tuesday.
Streakers: Michael Cuddyer of the Colorado Rockies stroked a single in four at-bats, extending the longest winning streak in the majors this season to 27 games. Cuddyer is batting .344, just behind league-leader, Yadier Molina, at .345.
Pittsburgh has won nine straight and has the best record in the majors, at 51-30.
Today's Trivia: Baltimore's Manny Machado has 38 doubles this season, chasing the record of 67, held by whom?
Yesterday's Answwer: New York Giants‘ ace Carl Hubbell won 24 games in a row over the 1936 and 1937 season.