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Royals' running game blazing trail to success

New acquistion Bonifacio contributing to MLB-leading stolen base total

TORONTO -- One aspect of Kansas City's offense that has been paramount to the team's success is the running game.

The Royals entered Saturday afternoon's tilt against the Blue Jays with a Major League-leading 122 stolen bases, including 35 in the club's previous 20 games. What's most impressive about the Royals' success on the bases, though, is the efficiency at which they've done it.

Kansas City has converted 84 percent of its attempts, which is the second-best success rate in the Majors, trailing only the Red Sox (85 percent).

Manager Ned Yost said while his team is aggressive on the bases, it's selective at the same time, which is what has allowed Royals runners to flourish.

"We don't just run to run, we try to pick our spots," Yost said. "We know that we've got speed, we have athleticism. We try to pick our spots to create run-scoring opportunities."

Yost added that first-base coach Rusty Kuntz deserves all of the praise for the team's success on the bases this season.

"We have done a really, really good job, and it's all led by Rusty Kuntz," Yost said. "He identifies when those spots are, and when we'd have the greatest chance of success every time we do that."

Recent acquisition Emilio Bonifacio is the exact type of player who fits in with what the Royals are trying to do. Bonifacio can play a number of positions in the infield and outfield, but he's also a threat on the bases, too.

The 28-year-old has swiped 21 bases overall, but is a perfect 9-for-9 since joining Kansas City in his first 16 games.

"He has been great," Yost said. "He's very athletic, very speedy and he can bunt. He plays with a lot of energy and he has been a good addition to our team."

In addition to Bonifacio, six other Royals have a double-digit stolen base total, including Elliot Johnson -- who is now on the Braves -- and team-leader Jarrod Dyson with 27.

Chris Toman is a contributor to
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