Thanks to Billy Butler’s speed — yep you read that right — the Royals avoided a sweep and snapped a seven-game skid Sunday against Washington.

During the decisive two-run eighth Butler reached on an infield single and later beat shortstop Ian Desmond’s throw to third on a force play as the Royals moved back above .500 with a 6-4 win.

“You can count them on one hand if there’s ever been any” Butler said when asked about the number of games that have turned into wins thanks to his wheels.

The Royals’ four-run opening salvo had the Kauffman Stadium crowd of 19661 feeling good but the Nationals clubbed three home runs off Ervin Santana who took a no decision after serving up two long balls during a game-tying three-run seventh inning.

However unlike Friday’s series opener when the Royals blew a six-run lead in an 11-10 loss reliever Kelvin Herrera stopped the bleeding the home side rallied snapping the Nationals’ five-game win streak when Greg Holland logged his 28th consecutive save.

“Every win’s big but we’ve been having a tough go of it lately” Butler said. “We jumped out early again today kind of like the first game of the series and then the same thing almost happened again but it shows the character of this team. We never give up — we never have and we never will.”

The Royals couldn’t have asked for a better start.

After a 1-2-3 top of the first Alex Gordon blasted a towering 411-foot shot to right-center — his 14th of the season and his 11th career leadoff home.

Emilio Bonifacio then walked and scored from first — rather impressively — on a single by Hosmer.

Against Washington starter Dan Haren who is notoriously slow to the plate Bonifacio lit out for second as Hosmer smoked a liner at Desmond who was breaking to cover the bag.