Throughout the wild ride to the top of the American League Central, the Royals have been front-runners, rarely accessing an extra gear to overcome a deficit.

The pitching has overwhelmed opponents, and they’ve generated enough power and timely hits to take control of games early and cruise home.

It didn’t happen that way Thursday, and in perhaps the strongest indication they have every intention of continuing to play at a high level, the Royals dug their own trench and pulled themselves out.

The Royals beat the A’s 7-3 to remain baseball’s hottest team, winners of 18 of their last 22. They remain atop the American League Central standings by a slim margin, a half-game over the Tigers.

Thursday’s victory came despite falling behind 3-2 in the sixth when center fielder Jarrod Dyson lost track of a fly ball in the sun.

The play tied the game, and the A’s soon went ahead 3-2. Such a deflating moment might have sunk previous Royals teams, or even the edition from earlier this season.

Not these guys, who took three of four from the team with baseball’s best record.

“There wasn’t any doubt in anybody’s mind that we were going rally back and put some runs on the board,” manager Ned Yost said.

That belief was realized in the seventh, and Dyson was part of a five-run outburst that turned the game around.