Gordon's 3B helps Vargas to MLB-best 11th W

Gordon's 3B helps Vargas to MLB-best 11th W

KANSAS CITY -- Left-hander Jason Vargas outdueled right-hander Marco Estrada for his MLB-leading 11th win as the Royals beat the Blue Jays, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.

Vargas, whose 2.29 ERA ranks third in the Majors, allowed two runs over seven innings while striking out a pair. The Royals have now won five straight series and are 15-6 in June. Vargas has been a critical part of that, as he allowed a combined eight runs in five wins this month.
 

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Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas city who covered the Royals on Saturday.

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City who covered the Blue Jays on Saturday.

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

Escobar, Gordon surging along with Royals

Yost: Pair's improved production 'big reason' for Kansas City's recent success

Escobar, Gordon surging along with Royals

KANSAS CITY -- When the Royals were struggling at the start of the season, shortstop Alcides Escobar and left fielder Alex Gordon were as well, at least offensively. As Kansas City has won 11 of its past 13 games -- the latest a 3-2 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday -- Escobar and Gordon's production has improved. Manager Ned Yost said the correlation is no coincidence.

"Our streak coincided with [Escobar] and [Gordon] swinging the bat better," Yost said. "That's a big reason why we've put a nice little winning streak together."

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Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hammel looks to keep rolling in finale vs. Jays

Hammel looks to keep rolling in finale vs. Jays

Royals right-hander Jason Hammel has been on quite a roll lately. On Sunday, the Blue Jays will try to slow him down.

Hammel has won his past three decisions, and he is coming off an impressive seven-inning performance against the Red Sox, when he allowed two runs. Hammel has five quality starts in his past six outings following some struggles early in the season.

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

Young's tenure in KC ends on good terms

DFA'd veteran righty says he appreciates GM Moore, ownership and fans

Young's tenure in KC ends on good terms

KANSAS CITY -- This was not the ending that Chris Young and Royals general manager Dayton Moore wanted.

Young was designated for assignment on Friday, capping a 2 1/2-year stint with the club, which was highlighted by a 2015 World Series championship and an unforgettable parade through downtown Kansas City.

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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.

Morales enjoys warm welcome back in KC

Blue Jays' DH reflects on fond memories of time with Royals, especially World Series

Morales enjoys warm welcome back in KC

KANSAS CITY -- Kendrys Morales is back at Kauffman Stadium, a venue in which he helped create some special memories in 2015 and '16.

As the primary designated hitter for the Royals in those seasons, Morales flourished, with the highlight being a World Series ring in 2015. It's no surprise that Morales, now a Blue Jays fixture, drew a round of cheers when he walked back inside the Kansas City clubhouse prior to the weekend series.

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

Down 3 in 9th, Royals rally to stun Blue Jays

Down 3 in 9th, Royals rally to stun Blue Jays

KANSAS CITY -- Whit Merrifield's two-run double capped a wild ninth inning as the Royals rallied for a 5-4 win over the Blue Jays on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium. It was Merrifield's first career walk-off hit.

The Royals faced a 4-1 deficit entering the ninth before mounting a two-out rally, as they had previously been 0-29 when trailing after the eighth inning. Salvador Perez doubled with one out and then scored on a two-out single by Alcides Escobar. Alex Gordon followed with an RBI to score Brandon Moss, who had kept the line moving with a walk, to make it 4-3. After Gordon's hit, right-hander Jason Grilli replaced Aaron Loup.

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Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City and covered the Royals on Friday.

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City and covered the Blue Jays on Friday.

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

Walk-off Whit: Merrifield's 2B caps comeback

Royals snap 0-29 skid when trailing after 8 innings

Walk-off Whit: Merrifield's 2B caps comeback

KANSAS CITY -- Whit Merrifield did some quick math before the bottom of the ninth began in the Royals' 5-4 walk-off win over the Blue Jays on Friday night. Trailing 4-1 and Merrifield due up seventh, he knew if he was going to bat again, it would be with a chance to win the game -- and that's exactly what happened.

With runners on first and third and two out, Merrifield worked an at-bat against Blue Jays right-hander Jason Grilli to a 3-1 count. Grilli's next pitch, a 93-mph fastball middle-in, would be the last of the game as Merrifield sent it over the head of left fielder Dwight Smith Jr., and the Royals completed their first ninth-inning comeback of the season.

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Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Big Slick celebrity softball game always a hit

Rudd, Sudeikis, Riggle, Stonestreet take swings for charity

Big Slick celebrity softball game always a hit

KANSAS CITY -- Comedian "Weird" Al Yankovic's nickname might better describe his batting stance, a low crouch in which he raises the bat high above his head. In his first at-bat in Friday afternoon's Big Slick Celebrity softball game at Kauffman Stadium, Yankovic struck out while hacking at a pitch. In the game where rules are arbitrary, he was given a few chances before that appearance.

"Playing today brought back some painful memories," Yankovic said. "As you can probably tell from watching, I have no baseball skills."

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Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Merrifield knocked onto ground after walk-off hit

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Merrifield knocked onto ground after walk-off hit

The Royals had every reason to be exuberant on Friday. They came from behind in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Blue Jays, 5-4, in a 2015 ALCS rematch, securing their 10th win in their last 12 games.

The hero of the night was Whit Merrifield, who smashed a double for the first walk-off hit of his young career. The team celebrated so much that Merrifield accidentally got bumped down by Salvador Perez and his fellow teammates.

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Royals agree to deal with Feliz; Young DFA'd

Royals agree to deal with Feliz; Young DFA'd

KANSAS CITY -- Royals general manager Dayton Moore said the move to designate right-hander Chris Young for assignment was something discussed two weeks ago.

"It was very difficult," Moore said on Friday. "... As the season progressed, we thought we would perhaps have to make a move [like this]."

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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.

Celebrities form in bench-clearing brawl

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Celebrities form in bench-clearing brawl

Bench-clearing brawls occur -- they're part of the game.

It's a different scenario when a bench-clearing brawl happens in a celebrity slow pitch softball game. But that's what happened on Friday at Kauffman Stadium.

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Inbox: Where will Royals put Strahm?

Beat reporter Jeffrey Flanagan answers questions from fans

Inbox: Where will Royals put Strahm?

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals have won four straight series and suddenly are knocking on the door in the American League Central. The once-dormant offense has awoken, and there are positive vibes throughout the clubhouse.

With that backdrop, let's get to this week's Royals Inbox.

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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.

Sal-vation! Late Perez slam puts KC over Sox

Sal-vation! Late Perez slam puts KC over Sox

KANSAS CITY -- Royals catcher Salvador Perez hit his first career grand slam in the eighth inning and Kelvin Herrera recorded his 17th save as the Royals came back to beat the Red Sox, 6-4, on Wednesday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.

With the win, the Royals won their fourth straight series and have won eight of their last 10 games. After the Yankees beat the Angels, 8-4, Wednesday night, Boston slipped to second place, a half-game back of the Yanks in the American League East.

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Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City who covered the Royals on Wednesday.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

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

Royals roar into hunt thanks to a Tiger?

Salvy hits first career slam with Miggy's bat

Royals roar into hunt thanks to a Tiger?

KANSAS CITY -- The bat that Royals catcher Salvador Perez used to hit his go-ahead grand slam in the Royals' 6-4 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday wasn't even his.

The story starts when the Tigers were in town at the end of May. Royals backup catcher Drew Butera picked up Miguel Cabrera's bat after Cabrera hit a long foul ball and handed it back to him at the plate. But as Butera was handing the bat back, he kidded with Cabrera that he really liked the feel and the weight (32 ounces) of it.

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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.

MLB, MLBPA donate $1M to NLB Museum

MLB, MLBPA donate $1M to NLB Museum

KANSAS CITY -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred said he is fascinated with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, as well as the culture of hotels and restaurants that once flourished around Negro Leagues stadiums, such as those in the famous 18th and Vine District here.

MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark referred to his trips to the NLBM as an "evolution of my education."

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Joe Posnanski

Legacy of Negro Leagues forever profound

Joint gift by MLB, MLBPA assures important history will continue to be told

Legacy of Negro Leagues forever profound

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was, at first, a small, unmarked room in the Lincoln Building in Kansas City. If visitors ever came by, which they never did, there were only a few scraps of memorabilia to see -- a handful of black and white photographs, an autographed baseball or two, a baseball bat that may or may not have had any connection to the Negro Leagues. Most of these were kept in a drawer.

"Where is the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum?" a young volunteer named Bob Kendrick asked as he walked into the room.

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Joe Posnanski is an executive columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Salvy uses Miggy's bat, gives cameraman bath

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Salvy uses Miggy's bat, gives cameraman bath

Going into the eighth inning of Wednesday's game against the Red Sox, the Royals were down 4-2 with the bases loaded and nobody out. Salvador Perez was due up and, after already tallying two hits on the afternoon, he worked the count to 3-2 and went bye-bye baseball.

Three hits, four RBIs and one run in KC's 6-4 victory. Not a totally unusual game for an All-Star like Perez, but as we saw later in the broadcast, he did have a little help: The power of 453 homers, 2,575 hits, two MVPs and a Triple Crown. Yes, Miguel Cabrera's bat.

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Blewett fans career-high 12 for Wilmington

Blewett fans career-high 12 for Wilmington

After a long wait to begin his professional career, Brandon Marsh is showing just what all the hype was about.

The Angels' No. 3 prospect continued his torrid start on Thursday as he connected on his first pro homer and finished a triple shy of the cycle in a 3-for-4 effort for Rookie-level Orem. He tallied four RBIs and scored three runs in the contest, a 13-8 victory over Ogden.

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

Strahm struggles, offense stymied by Sale

Strahm struggles, offense stymied by Sale

KANSAS CITY -- Chris Sale's latest gem, which fell two outs shy of a second consecutive complete game, put the Red Sox in sole possession of first place in the American League East for the first time this season.

Behind Sale, the Sox thumped the Royals, 8-3, on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium. The lanky lefty (9-3, 2.85 ERA) allowed four hits and three runs while walking one and striking out 10.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

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.

Dream comes true for Hosmer, Marrero

Longtime friends finally take Major League field together

Dream comes true for Hosmer, Marrero

KANSAS CITY -- Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer and Red Sox infielder Deven Marrero used to dream of this day. As they rode to school or baseball practice, the two "childhood best friends," as Hosmer called them, often pictured themselves someday playing on the same Major League field.

During the Red Sox's 8-3 win on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium, Hosmer and Marrero did for the first time.

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Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hosmer takes over All-Star lead at 1B in AL

Hosmer takes over All-Star lead at 1B in AL

KANSAS CITY -- Royals manager Ned Yost's plea last week to Royals fans to start voting for first baseman Eric Hosmer appears to be paying off.

Hosmer, a Miami native, has pulled in front at first base in the latest American League update on Tuesday for the 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot. Also, Royals catcher Salvador Perez continues to lead in voting at catcher with 1,453,088 votes -- more than 400,000 votes ahead of Houston's Brian McCann.

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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.

Moustakas milestone: Slugger hits 100th HR

Moustakas milestone: Slugger hits 100th HR

KANSAS CITY -- In the second inning of the Royals' 8-3 loss to the Red Sox on Tuesday night, Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas launched the 100th home run of his career.

The hit traveled an estimated 440 feet, his longest of the season, and tied for his second longest home run since Statcast™ began recording home run distance in 2015. The solo shot came off Red Sox starter Chris Sale. It was the longest home run Sale has given up this season and the second-longest tracked by Statcast™ off Boston's ace.

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Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duffy getting closer to rehab assignment

Duffy getting closer to rehab assignment

KANSAS CITY -- Royals left-hander Danny Duffy, on the disabled list with a strained right oblique, threw off the mound against hitters before Tuesday's game against the Red Sox.

Duffy, who went on the disabled list on May 30, threw about 40 pitches in an up-and-down session and reported no discomfort.

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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 dive in, rally in 7th to edge Red Sox

Royals dive in, rally in 7th to edge Red Sox

KANSAS CITY -- Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning after Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.'s dive turned a single by Drew Butera into a triple, and the Royals held on for a 4-2 victory on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium.

With one out in the seventh in a 2-2 game, Butera sent a liner to left-center that Bradley dived for and missed, and Butera hustled to third as the ball rolled to the wall. The catch probability on the play was just four percent -- Bradley would have had to have traveled 59 feet in 3.5 seconds.

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

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

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

Royals sign first-round pick Pratto

Royals sign first-round pick Pratto

KANSAS CITY -- This wasn't the first time first-round Draft pick Nick Pratto donned a Royals cap at a significant moment.

As it turns out, Pratto was wearing a Royals cap and shirt when, at the age of seven, he hit his first home run while in a Little League game near Huntington Beach, Calif.

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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.

Mechanical tweak paying off for Hammel

Mechanical tweak paying off for Hammel

KANSAS CITY -- Make that four straight quality starts for Royals right-hander Jason Hammel, whose season suddenly has been reborn.

Hammel (4-6) held the Red Sox to seven hits and two runs through seven innings, and the Royals rallied late to seal a 4-2 victory on Monday. Once again, Hammel's command was exceptional. He walked none and now has walked just one hitter in his past four starts, covering 27 1/3 innings.

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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 option Skoglund, call up McCarthy

Royals option Skoglund, call up McCarthy

Before Monday night's game against the Red Sox, the Royals optioned pitcher Eric Skoglund to Triple-A Omaha, calling up Kevin McCarthy to assume Skoglund's place.

Skoglund, who is ranked the club's No. 3 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, struggled in the rotation, as he was twice unable to make it past the second inning after an impressive big league debut May 30, in which he pitched  6 1/3 scoreless innings. The Royals recently shifted Skoglund to the bullpen, but he never saw action there.

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