Royals erupt early, hold off Tigers in slugfest

Royals erupt early, hold off Tigers in slugfest

DETROIT -- A day after the Royals slowed the Tigers' playoff pursuit with a five-run rally in the ninth, they did their damage at the start, putting up a four-run opening inning Sunday and adding on from there before withstanding a furious Tigers comeback attempt for a 12-9 win at Comerica Park.

The Tigers' second straight loss dropped them 1 1/2 games behind the Orioles for the second American League Wild Card spot. It also dropped the Indians' magic number to one for clinching the AL Central as Cleveland comes to Detroit for a four-game series starting Monday.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Super utility man Merrifield HR shy of cycle

Spelling Hosmer, Royals rookie hits RBI triple in 4-run 1st and makes diving stop

Super utility man Merrifield HR shy of cycle

DETROIT -- About two hours before the Royals-Tigers game on Sunday, Royals rookie super utility man Whit Merrifield saw that he would be replacing Gold Glover Eric Hosmer at first base in the lineup.

"We're finally going to get some power at that position," Merrifield joked to a reporter.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kennedy aims to go 4-0 against Twins in '16

Kennedy aims to go 4-0 against Twins in '16

After a long stretch of games against contending teams such as the Indians, Tigers, Mets and Mariners, the Twins head to Kansas City for a three-game series against the Royals, who haven't been officially eliminated from postseason contention, but are essentially out of the race and won't have a chance to defend their World Series title.

Kansas City will turn to veteran right-hander Ian Kennedy (11-10, 3.64 ERA) in the series opener Tuesday, while rookie right-hander Jose Berrios (2-7, 8.88) gets the nod for Minnesota. The Royals have dominated the season series, winning 13 of 16. But both clubs could look to mix in backups during the series with the games holding no postseason implications.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals play spoiler with 5-run 9th in Detroit

Royals play spoiler with 5-run 9th in Detroit

DETROIT -- What looked like another step in the Tigers' charge toward the American League playoffs became a potentially costly stumble in the ninth, courtesy of a Royals rally reminiscent of last year. Eric Hosmer's go-ahead three-run homer punctuated a five-run ninth off Francisco Rodriguez, propelling Kansas City to a 7-4 win Saturday in front of a stunned Comerica Park crowd.

The loss ended Detroit's five-game winning streak and dropped the Tigers out of playoff position, with the Orioles beating the D-backs at night to take sole possession of the second AL Wild Card spot. With the Blue Jays' 3-0 win over the Yankees, the Tigers are two games out of the first AL Wild Card.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ventura day to day with tight lower back

Yost expects Royals righty to make final '16 start

Ventura day to day with tight lower back

DETROIT -- Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura left Saturday's 7-4 win over the Tigers after facing one hitter in the fifth inning because of what the Royals indicated was lower back tightness and spasms.

Royals manager Ned Yost said after the game that he didn't believe the injury was serious, and that he expected Ventura to make his final start of the season next weekend at Kauffman Stadium.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hosmer's huge HR gives him 1st 100-RBI year

KC slugger 0-for-4 with three whiffs before belting game-winning blast

Hosmer's huge HR gives him 1st 100-RBI year

DETROIT -- For the Royals' Eric Hosmer, Saturday's game with the Tigers certainly ended better than it started.

Hosmer was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts when he stepped up to the plate with two on and two out in the ninth in a tie game. Hosmer proceeded to pound a changeup from Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez into the right-field seats, a three-run blast that put the Royals up for good in a stunning 7-4 win.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duffy, Royals get off to rough start vs. Tigers

Duffy, Royals get off to rough start vs. Tigers

DETROIT -- The Tigers' transition from pursuer to pursued in the American League Wild Card race went swimmingly on Friday night. Victor Martinez, Justin Upton and Cameron Maybin all homered off Danny Duffy to provide an early lead for Michael Fulmer, who struck out nine Royals over seven innings for his first win in five weeks with an 8-3 victory at Comerica Park.

Detroit's fifth consecutive win maintained its half-game lead over Baltimore for the second Wild Card spot.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals' successful challenge pays off with run

Yost has trouble getting umpires' attention, leading to confusion

Royals' successful challenge pays off with run

DETROIT -- Until the ninth inning when Jarrod Dyson drove in two runs with a triple, there wasn't much excitement for the Royals in an 8-3 loss to the Tigers on Friday night.

But the Royals did rely on their excellent replay coordinator Bill Duplissea to get on the board against tough rookie right-hander Michael Fulmer.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

What will roles be for Strahm, Soria in 2017?

Royals to discuss whether rookie lefty fits better in rotation

What will roles be for Strahm, Soria in 2017?

DETROIT -- As thoughts turn toward how the Royals will shape up their pitching staff for 2017, two names will figure prominently in internal discussions this offseason: Joakim Soria and Matt Strahm.

The Royals have indicated that Strahm will compete for a rotation spot in Spring Training. But Strahm, 24, has been such a sensation in the bullpen -- 0.95 ERA in 18 games entering Friday's series opener against the Tigers -- that the club could wind up valuing him more there for now, especially as it tries to recreate the shutdown bullpen of 2013-15.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vargas retires 10 in a row to close solid outing

Royals lefty goes four innings in second start back from Tommy John rehab

Vargas retires 10 in a row to close solid outing

CLEVELAND -- In the search for positive developments in an otherwise rough three-game sweep at the hands of the Indians, the Royals can at least view left-hander Jason Vargas' second start back from Tommy John rehab another excellent step forward.

Vargas got nicked for two runs in the first, but that was it as he turned in four solid innings in the Royals' 5-2 loss on Thursday night at Progressive Field.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Esky's HR not enough as Royals fall in Cleveland

Esky's HR not enough as Royals fall in Cleveland

CLEVELAND -- The Indians are still jockeying for position in the October picture, but there is another battle going on within the team.

With his latest homer in a 5-2 win over the Royals on Thursday, Carlos Santana not only moved Cleveland a little closer to a division crown, but he put the pressure on Mike Napoli for the Tribe's home run title this season. Santana and Napoli are now tied at 34 shots apiece with 10 games left on the schedule.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals have goal of finishing over .500

Club wants to have winning record in fourth straight season

Royals have goal of finishing over .500

CLEVELAND -- Their division hopes are gone, and their American League Wild Card dreams are fading fast. So what is driving manager Ned Yost and the Royals during these final games of the 2016 season?

Finishing over .500.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Speed demon Gore caught stealing by Indians

Allen, Perez, Lindor combine to nab basestealer for first time in regular season

Speed demon Gore caught stealing by Indians

CLEVELAND -- It had to happen sometime.

One of the top basestealing weapons in baseball, Royals outfielder Terrance Gore, finally got caught stealing in the ninth inning of the Indians' 4-3 win over the Royals on Wednesday night at Progressive Field.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals eliminated from AL Central with loss to Tribe

Royals eliminated from AL Central with loss to Tribe

CLEVELAND -- The Royals will not be wearing the division crown this year. In a 4-3 win over Kansas City on Wednesday night, Corey Kluber continued to build his American League Cy Young Award case, Jose Ramirez roped three doubles and the Indians marched closer to an AL Central title.

First-place Cleveland moved 7 1/2 games in front of the Tigers, whose game in Minnesota was postponed Wednesday night, and the Tribe reduced its magic number to five with 11 games to play. As for the reigning World Series champion Royals, their seventh loss in 10 games officially knocked them out of the Central race.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Volquez wants to remain with Royals

Current regime in Kansas City has never exercised a mutual option

Volquez wants to remain with Royals

CLEVELAND -- Right-hander Edinson Volquez has two starts left this season, perhaps his last two in a Royals uniform.

Volquez, one of the heroes of last year's World Series championship team, is a potential free agent in 2017. The Royals and Volquez have a mutual option for $10 million (with a $3 million buyout), but keep in mind that the Royals have never exercised a mutual option under the present regime.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Volquez breaks out of funk with strong start

Royals righty goes 6 2/3 innings vs. Indians after rough 10-game stretch

Volquez breaks out of funk with strong start

CLEVELAND -- Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez finally delivered like the Volquez of 2015, delivering his best performance in roughly two months as he held the Indians to one run and four hits through 6 2/3 innings in the Royals' 2-1 loss on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

It was Volquez's best outing since July 24, when he gave up one run over six innings against Texas. He had a 7.46 ERA over his last 10 outings.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Burns shows off blazing home-to-first speed

Speedster posts time of 3.75 seconds on infield hit vs. White Sox on Monday

Burns shows off blazing home-to-first speed

CLEVELAND -- Royals fans are finally getting to see why general manager Dayton Moore traded Brett Eibner to Oakland for speedy outfielder Billy Burns.

Burns was at his pesky best on Monday against the White Sox, getting three hits -- two were infield hits -- and stealing a base.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Volquez solid, but Royals fall in walk-off fashion

Volquez solid, but Royals fall in walk-off fashion

CLEVELAND -- The Royals have experienced plenty of late-season magic over the past two years. Now the Indians want a turn. On Tuesday night, Cleveland continued its march toward an American League Central title with a 2-1, walk-off win over Kansas City.

Brandon Guyer played the role of hero, sending a fly ball deep into the right-field corner for a pinch-hit RBI single off Royals reliever Joakim Soria, setting off the on-field party at Progressive Field. The win was the 11th in walk-off fashion this year for Cleveland, which improved to 50-26 at home and 42-22 against AL Central foes.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ventura goes distance as Royals thump Sox

Ventura goes distance as Royals thump Sox

KANSAS CITY -- There's a little life left yet in the defending World Series champions.

After dropping five straight games to open a crucial homestand, pushing them to the brink of postseason contention, the Royals have bounced back with three straight wins, the latest an 8-3 triumph over the White Sox on Monday afternoon in a makeup game at Kauffman Stadium.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Orlando makes spectacular leaping grab

Orlando makes spectacular leaping grab

KANSAS CITY -- It was either one of the better catches you'll see in a while, or it was an awkward approach to a deep fly ball rescued by a last-second stab in midair. Either way, credit Royals outfielder Paulo Orlando with a highlight grab.

In the fifth inning of the Royals' 8-3 win over the White Sox on Monday at Kauffman Stadium, White Sox catcher Omar Narvaez sent a deep drive toward the warning track in right field.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Homer marks Morales' milestone 1,000th hit

Homer marks Morales' milestone 1,000th hit

KANSAS CITY -- When Kendrys Morales launched a towering two-run homer in the sixth inning Sunday, he had a good feeling circling the bases, as the Royals were well on their way to a 10-3 victory over the White Sox. Then Morales got back to the dugout, learned that the homer was the 1,000th hit of his Major League career and he felt even better.

One can only wonder how many hits Morales would have now if the switch-hitting power man hadn't missed much of the 2010 season and all of '11 because of a fractured lower left leg.

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Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals rock White Sox behind Morales, Duffy

Royals rock White Sox behind Morales, Duffy

KANSAS CITY -- Danny Duffy has 12 victories during his breakout 2016 campaign as part of the Royals rotation. Exactly one quarter of them have come against the White Sox.

Duffy improved to 3-0 this season against the South Siders with a 10-3 Royals victory on Sunday. Duffy gave up three runs in seven-plus innings, striking out eight and walking two. In five starts against the White Sox, the southpaw has allowed nine runs over 31 2/3 innings to go with 32 strikeouts and five walks.

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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City and covered the Royals on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals, White Sox double challenge benefits KC

Royals, White Sox double challenge benefits KC

KANSAS CITY -- The White Sox and Royals had a rare double challenge during a play at second base in the second inning of Kansas City's 10-3 victory Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.

With the bases loaded and one out, Eric Hosmer hit a ground ball off of White Sox starter Jose Quintana to second baseman Carlos Sanchez, who fired to shortstop Tim Anderson for an apparent force at second on Paulo Orlando. Hosmer clearly beat the relay throw to first, giving the Royals their fourth run as Hunter Dozier scored from third.

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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

11-year-old plays national anthem on electric guitar

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11-year-old plays national anthem on electric guitar

No matter how the national anthem is performed -- 300-year-old violinssoothing R&B voices, amidst an aggressive case of the hiccups -- it's always an impressive musical feat. But perhaps the best way to listen to it, as with most forms of music, is shredded on an electric guitar. Just listen to 11-year-old Aidan Fisher jamming out on this Royals-themed hammer of the gods.

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Yost reaches goal of winning 1,000 games as manager

Yost reaches goal of winning 1,000 games as manager

KANSAS CITY -- It has been a rough homestand for the Royals, but Saturday was a time for manager Ned Yost to pause and reflect on reaching a goal that he established for himself long ago.

By snapping a five-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the White Sox, the Royals handed Yost the 1,000th victory of his Major League managing career with Milwaukee and Kansas City.

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Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City and covered the Royals on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals snap skid, help Yost get win No. 1,000

Royals snap skid, help Yost get win No. 1,000

KANSAS CITY -- Ned Yost had to wait almost one week, but the Royals manager now is the proud owner of 1,000 career victories.

The historic win came on Saturday night, as the Royals held on for a 3-2 victory over the White Sox before 34,805 at Kauffman Stadium. Dillon Gee earned the victory by allowing one run in 4 1/3 innings of relief, entering for Jason Vargas after the southpaw threw three innings.

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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City and covered the Royals on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vargas has successful return to Majors

Vargas has successful return to Majors

KANSAS CITY -- Jason Vargas had waited 14 months to step back onto a Major League mound and that made Saturday's start against the White Sox, a 3-2 Royals win, something special.

After recovering from Tommy John surgery, Vargas held his own in a three-inning, 52-pitch stint that launched his comeback in satisfying fashion. Vargas surrendered a run in the first, but a dazzling play by second baseman Whit Merrifield to end the inning helped boost Vargas in the right direction. He breezed through a nine-pitch second inning and gave up only a two-out walk in the third before calling it a night.

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Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City and covered the Royals on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Escobar still hopes to start in all 162 games

Escobar still hopes to start in all 162 games

KANSAS CITY -- Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar started his 148th game Saturday night against the White Sox and his mindset is to start 14 more.

Never mind the aches and pains of a long season. Escobar leaves no doubt that he would like to reach the 162-game mark for the second time in three seasons.

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Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City and covered the Royals on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.