Cain stays hot but Royals can't rally vs. Twins

Cain stays hot but Royals can't rally vs. Twins

KANSAS CITY -- Joe Mauer ripped a two-run homer and the Twins' bullpen tossed five scoreless innings to bail out starter Mike Pelfrey as Minnesota topped the Royals, 5-3, on Saturday in front 37,917 fans at Kauffman Stadium.

The Twins have taken two of three so far in the series and pulled within 3 1/2 games of the first-place Royals, who have dropped five of six.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blanton's rotation spot in question after loss

Veteran righty shaky vs. Twins; Royals may have other options for next turn

Blanton's rotation spot in question after loss

KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Joe Blanton, who had another shaky start in Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Twins at home, is listed as the Royals' probable starter on Thursday. And right-hander Yordano Ventura is scheduled for another Triple-A rehab start on Monday.

But those plans could be altered, much like the Royals altered their plan with left-hander Danny Duffy, who skipped another scheduled rehab outing to move back into the rotation on the last road trip.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

All-Star starters unveiled Sunday, full rosters Monday

Watch selection shows on ESPN; Final Vote to get underway Monday

All-Star starters unveiled Sunday, full rosters Monday

It was historic because it happened exclusively online. It was personal because it decided the fate of your favorite players. It was intense because you argued a lot. And it was teamwork because you helped shatter a Major League Baseball record.

After 65 consecutive days of relentless fan voting to determine starting positions players for the 86th All-Star Game on July 14 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, the largest All-Star balloting program in sports closed at 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Santana makes return to KC with Twins

Starter to face ex-mates in finale

Santana makes return to KC with Twins

KANSAS CITY -- As Twins right-hander Ervin Santana takes a big league mound for the first time on Sunday since his 80-game suspension for his use of a performance-enhancing drug, it will at least be in familiar surroundings.

Santana returns to Kauffman Stadium, where he pitched well for the Royals in 2013 and where he has pitched well throughout his career (7-6, 3.68 ERA).

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duffy, Royals to face ex-mate Santana, Twins

Duffy, Royals to face ex-mate Santana, Twins

Former teammates Danny Duffy and Ervin Santana will go head to head in the series finale between the Royals and Twins at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. CT.

Following an 80-game suspension for his use of a performance-enhancing drug, Santana makes his season debut for the Twins after winning all three rehab starts with Triple-A Rochester. The right-hander is coming off a season with the Braves where he won 14 games, which tied Julio Teheran for the team lead.

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Jordan Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals trip Twins in 10th for first walk-off win

Royals trip Twins in 10th for first walk-off win

KANSAS CITY -- Lorenzo Cain scored from third on an infield dribbler off the bat of Jarrod Dyson with one out in the 10th inning as the Royals earned a 3-2 walk-off win over the Twins on Friday night before 38,868 fans at Kauffman Stadium.

Cain led off the 10th with a double and went to third with one out on a wild pitch. Dyson then hit a chopper to first baseman Joe Mauer off pitcher Aaron Thompson. Mauer fired home, but the tag was late as Cain slid in headfirst to give Kansas City its first walk-off win of the season and first since last year's victory over the A's in the American League Wild Card Game.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.

Cain soaks in sweet taste of walk-off success

Cain soaks in sweet taste of walk-off success

KANSAS CITY -- Looking to quench their thirst amid a four-game losing drought, the Royals needed look no further than Lorenzo Cain, who scored the decisive run in a 3-2 walk-off win over the Twins on Friday night.

Cain, who doubled leading off the 10th inning, sprinted home on an infield chopper by Jarrod Dyson to first.

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Jordan Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Guthrie gives Royals big reason to celebrate

Guthrie gives Royals big reason to celebrate

KANSAS CITY -- Long before Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain's heroics in the 10th inning lifted the Royals to a 3-2 walk-off win, starter Jeremy Guthrie kept it close on Friday night.

Guthrie turned in his second straight quality start -- first time he has done that this season -- and held the Twins to just two runs through 7 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out four in a start the Royals, who had lost four straight, badly needed.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals Minor League Report: July 3

Omaha Storm Chasers (43-39)

Omaha 4, New Orleans 8
LP: Buddy Baumann (1-2)
HR: Moises Sierra (3)

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MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

Royals find way to keep rolling with punches

Royals find way to keep rolling with punches

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals are getting every other team's best game, best shot, best effort.

This is part of the payoff for winning a pennant. The degree of difficulty rises as the opponents' motivation level climbs.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals option Colon, add Coleman from Omaha

Royals option Colon, add Coleman from Omaha

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals still consider infielder Christian Colon a valuable prospect.

And that is why the Royals demoted him on Friday.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Young solid, but Royals drop opener with Twins

Young solid, but Royals drop opener with Twins

KANSAS CITY -- Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson continued his mastery of the Royals by humming through eight scoreless innings and allowing just four singles in a 2-0 win on Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals lost their fourth straight as the Twins moved 3 1/2 games out of first in the American League Central.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. 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 still baffled by Gibson's two-seamer

Royals still baffled by Gibson's two-seamer

KANSAS CITY -- Royals hitters kept trying to anticipate Twins starter Kyle Gibson's two-seam fastball, the kind that starts out at a left-handed hitter's hip, and darts back in over the corner.

But each time they looked for that pitch, Gibson snapped a slider going the other way. Or a changeup that nose-dived into the dirt.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ventura expected to make another rehab start

Ventura expected to make another rehab start

KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Yordano Ventura likely will need one more start in the Minors before returning to the Royals, manager Ned Yost said on Thursday.

Ventura made his second rehab start for Triple-A Omaha on Wednesday -- he gave up one run in 5 1/3 innings while throwing 84 pitches.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hosmer grieving for young Royals fan's death

Hosmer grieving for young Royals fan's death

KANSAS CITY -- The words came hard for Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, as he stood in front of reporters on Thursday and tried to make meaning of the death of his 7-year-old friend, Noah Wilson, from Olathe, Kan.

Fans from all over the country learned of Noah's courageous battle against bone cancer during last year's Royals' playoff run -- a fight that he appeared to be winning in mid-June when he was considered cancer-free. But recently, his family learned he had leukemia.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals Minor League Report: July 2

Omaha Storm Chasers (43-38)

Omaha 5, New Orleans 2
WP: Aaron Brooks (5-4)
SV: Scott Alexander (6)
HR: Whit Merrifield (3)

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Sources: Royals sign pair of Dominican Republic prospects

Sources: Royals sign pair of Dominican Republic prospects

Kansas City made its presence felt on the international scene by locking up two top teenage prospects from the Dominican Republic.

According to industry sources, the Royals agreed to $2.25 million signing bonus for outfielder Seuly Matias, ranked No. 9 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list, and a $1.5 million bonus for infielder Jeison Guzman, ranked No.29.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals super fan Wilson dies at age 7

Boy attended World Series in 2014 after battle with cancer drew MLB's attention

Royals super fan Wilson dies at age 7

Noah Wilson, whose fight against cancer and devotion to the Royals was chronicled during last year's World Series, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 7.

The Olathe, Kan., native had his last radiation treatment in mid-June and had been considered free of Ewing's sarcoma, a bone cancer. However, his family learned in recent days that he had leukemia.

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Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Volquez, Royals hit speed bump against Astros

Volquez, Royals hit speed bump against Astros

HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve made his final case for an All-Star starting spot on Wednesday night, and it was a memorable one.

Altuve went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base while scoring the decisive run on a bang-bang play at the plate as the Astros swept the Royals with a 6-5 win at Minute Maid Park.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Volquez sidetracked by nightmare fifth inning

Volquez sidetracked by nightmare fifth inning

HOUSTON -- With injuries hitting the Royals' rotation hard during the past month, it's been veteran Edinson Volquez who's been the steady hand.

Volquez looked the part again for 3 2/3 innings against the Astros on Wednesday night, but it all came undone as he labored in a four-run fifth inning that was ultimately his final frame in the 6-5 loss at Minute Maid Park.

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Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Herrera can't hold serve in decisive 7th frame

Herrera can't hold serve in decisive 7th frame

HOUSTON -- For much of the past two seasons, Kelvin Herrera has been the precursor to doom, which the Royals' bullpen often spells for opponents.

On Wednesday night, the flame-throwing righty looked mighty mortal for a second game in a row. Herrera took the loss, allowing the decisive run in the seventh inning of a 6-5 loss to the Astros, who swept the three-game set.

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Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vargas slated to throw simulated innings

Vargas slated to throw simulated innings

HOUSTON -- Royals pitcher Jason Vargas will throw about two simulated innings on Thursday, his first live throwing action since he landed on the disabled list in early June with a recurrence of a muscle strain in his left forearm.

"I just want to go out there and see how it feels in situations you face against hitters, and see how much I can give it and how it responds," Vargas said.

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Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lamb, Coleman selected as PCL All-Stars

Lamb, Coleman selected as PCL All-Stars

HOUSTON -- The Pacific Coast League All-Star teams were announced on Wednesday, and the Royals' Triple-A Omaha affiliate landed a pair of pitchers on the roster.

Left-hander John Lamb and veteran reliever Louis Coleman earned All-Star berths, and they won't have to travel very far. The Triple-A All-Star Game will be held on July 15 at Werner Park, the Storm Chasers' home stadium.

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Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cain able with big bat in return against Astros

Cain able with big bat in return against Astros

HOUSTON -- Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain was certainly limited in his return from a hamstring issue against the Astros on Tuesday.

Just not enough to limit his production.

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Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals' bats stay silent in rematch with Astros

Royals' bats stay silent in rematch with Astros

HOUSTON -- Auditioning for the starting nod in the All-Star Game in front of American League manager Ned Yost, ace Dallas Keuchel fired eight shutout innings and got just enough run support from George Springer's two-run homer off the foul pole in the third inning as the Astros secured a series win with a 4-0 win over the Royals on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.

Jose Altuve added a run-scoring double in the fifth, but by then, Keuchel was well on his way to his 10th win of the season. Now a 10-game winner in back-to-back seasons, Keuchel worked around two doubles in the first two innings to strand six and strike out seven. The lefty is now the first Astros pitcher since Roy Oswalt in 2005 to win 10 games before the All-Star break.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dyson plays it smart with lingering groin issue

Dyson plays it smart with lingering groin issue

HOUSTON -- Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson felt a tweak in his left groin last Wednesday in Seattle, and it's still lingering into the series against the Astros.

Dyson was not in the lineup on Tuesday night, but that had as much to do with his history against left-handed pitching as it did with any "minor" groin limitations. He's a career .216 hitter vs. southpaws, and lefty Dallas Keuchel was Houston's starter for the middle game.

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Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals Minor League Report: June 30

Omaha Storm Chasers (42-37)

New Orleans 6, Omaha 0 (Completion of June 14 game)
LP: Yohan Pino (4-3)
HR: None

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Bonifacio named Texas League All-Star Game MVP

Royals No. 9 prospect blasts two-run homer and drives in three runs in North's win

Bonifacio named Texas League All-Star Game MVP

Royals No. 9 prospect Jorge Bonifacio won MVP honors after leading the North to a 9-4 victory over the South in the Texas League All-Star Game on Tuesday night.

With the game tied 4-4 in the eighth inning, Bonifacio launched a two-run shot off of Padres No. 9 prospect Tayron Guerrero to give the North a lead it did not relinquish.

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Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.