His hair was slicked back, and the right side of his jersey was soaked. Royals manager Ned Yost looked unkempt despite his afternoon off, following an ejection in the first inning of a 6-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

After each victory, the team designates a player of the game. On Sunday, following their seventh in a row, they settled on their manager-turned-spectator. The players doused him with water – they insisted they would not waste beer for such a celebration — as the stereo system’s bass pulsed and a strobe light flashed through the room.

“Since he didn’t make it through an inning, we figured it was his day to get the award,” designated hitter Billy Butler said.

The last time Yost watched his team on TV, after an ejection against the Houston Astros on May 27, the sight infuriated him. He fumed at the shoddy at-bats, and criticized his club to reporters afterward. That was three weeks and 12 wins ago —another lifetime for a team that has surged to a season’s best four games above .500.

For Yost, glued to a TV inside the visiting manager’s office, the product on Sunday was far more pleasing. He departed after arguing a run-scoring balk ruling against James Shields. Though Shields labored, he survived a 10-hit barrage to achieve a quality start, three runs allowed in six innings. Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez launched early home runs to pace the offense, and Jarrod Dyson padded the lead with fourth-inning RBI single.

In all, the Royals (36-32) outscored their hosts, 22-6, in 27 innings at U.S. Cellular Field. Shields painted this as the team’s best of the season, one in which all cylinders clicked. They are roaring into a four-game set with Detroit, the leaders of the American League Central, “the biggest series of the year,” Butler said.

A three-game destruction of a divisional opponent allowed the Royals to puff out their chests, ever so slightly, on Sunday afternoon. All cautioned about the length of season remaining, and the perils of placing too much emphasis on one series. But the importance of this week is obvious, with the Royals merely a game and a half out of first place.