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Royals' bats can't break out behind Hammel

Herrera is bright spot vs. Rangers as KC drops 8th straight
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- Someday soon, the Royals' struggling offense is bound to break out.

That day wasn't Tuesday as they mustered just four hits in a 4-1 loss to the Rangers at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals have lost eight straight and 14 of 15.

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KANSAS CITY -- Someday soon, the Royals' struggling offense is bound to break out.

That day wasn't Tuesday as they mustered just four hits in a 4-1 loss to the Rangers at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals have lost eight straight and 14 of 15.

View Full Game Coverage

The primary culprit has been the offense, which has scored 24 runs in the past 13 games. Only the Orioles (255) have scored fewer runs in the American League this season than the Royals (265).

Newcomer Rosell Herrera, acquired off waivers recently from the Reds, tried to provide a spark, recording two hits and an RBI.

Video: TEX@KC: Herrera grounds an RBI single in the 5th

"Nice job by him," manager Ned Yost said. "This is exciting to see a young kid come up. He's a switch-hitter, got a couple of hits against a quality pitcher like Cole Hamels, and made some nice plays in the outfield."

Video: TEX@KC: Herrera stretches to make grab in right

But the Royals managed just an unearned run through seven innings against Hamels, who struck out seven, and the Rangers' bullpen closed out the victory.

Royals starter Jason Hammel came into the game having gone 2-2 with a 2.56 ERA in his previous five starts. But the Rangers nicked him for two runs in each of the second and third innings.

The big blow in the second was Delino DeShields' two-run double.

Hammel lasted 5 2/3 innings and gave up nine hits, four walks and four runs. He also struck out four.

"The first few innings, I was sweating a lot," Hammel said. "I was having trouble gripping the ball, so just getting through that. Kind of when I ran out of sweat, I was able to feel the ball again and make more effective pitches. But [no] excuses. Just got to execute better. There was four walks, three of them come around to score. That's the thing that'll irk me tonight while I'm sleeping, trying to sleep."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
The Royals' sputtering offense had a chance to make a statement against Hamels in the first as he battled his command. Hamels issued a leadoff walk to Whit Merrifield, then he threw a wild pitch. Moments later, Merrifield stole third, still with none out. The Rangers played their infield back, conceding the run, but Paulo Orlando struck out on a pitch out of the zone. Hamels walked Mike Moustakas next, but Salvador Perez rolled into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat. Perez has hit into a team-leading 12 double plays. The Royals are tied with the Astros for most double plays in the Major Leagues with 73.

Video: TEX@KC: Yost on Hammel's mistakes in loss to Rangers

"I want to say we've hit into our 76th double play of the year? 73?" Yost said. "Something crazy. It just boggles your mind that that's happened so many times."

Added Merrifield, "[Hamels] looked like he kind of lost the feel for his stuff initially, a lot of times that can snowball. But he's a veteran guy, he found it and commanded, and got a pitch when he needed it."

SOUND SMART
Merrifield, who led the AL in stolen bases with 34 last season, has 16 this season. He also is 9-for-9 stealing third base, which he did in the first inning.

Video: TEX@KC: Merrifield gets his 16th steal of the year

Royals left fielder Alex Gordon threw out Elvis Andrus trying to score from second on a single in the ninth. It was Gordon's seventh assist this season and the 89th of his career, most in the Majors since 2010.

Video: TEX@KC: Gordon throws out Andrus to end the frame

HE SAID IT
"Kind of get tired of that. Feel like I'm playing hockey like I'm a goalie instead of a baseball player right now. I don't know what it is, but it's definitely the most times I've ever been hit since I started playing baseball. It's got to be four or five times lately." -- Hammel, on getting nailed with yet another comebacker in the first inning off the bat of Adrian Beltre

UP NEXT
Right-hander Jakob Junis (5-7, 4.43 ERA) takes the mound for the Royals in the series finale against the Rangers at 7:15 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium. Right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx (0-1, 6.55) will start for the Rangers. Junis has lost four straight, including Friday's start against the Astros when he gave up six runs over 5 1/3 innings. He gave up three home runs in the game and has yielded 18 for the season.

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

Kansas City Royals, Jason Hammel

Moose, Salvy in the mix for ASG starts

MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and catcher Salvador Perez are both in the top five among their position in voting in the 2018 Camping World All-Star Ballot update released Tuesday.

VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

KANSAS CITY -- Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and catcher Salvador Perez are both in the top five among their position in voting in the 2018 Camping World All-Star Ballot update released Tuesday.

VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

Moustakas is seeking his third All-Star appearance this year in Washington, and Perez his sixth straight.

Moustakas is third on the team in batting average at .263. He leads the club in homers with 13 and RBIs with 47.

Video: KC@BAL: Moustakas homers twice, drives in 5 runs

Perez sits just behind Moustakas in homers at 11. His slugging percentage of .429 is third on Kansas City. Perez is tied for third in runners caught stealing among all AL backstops.

Moustakas sits at 231,363 votes, a ways behind the Indians' Jose Ramirez, who leads third basemen with 893,530 votes.

Perez is in fourth among catchers with 344,915 votes. Wilson Ramos of the Rays leads the position, with 678,159 votes.

Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot until Thursday, July 5, at 11:59 p.m. ET. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps. Each fan can vote up to five times in any 24-hour period, for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.

Following the announcement of this year's All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Final Vote for the final player on each league's roster. Then on Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans may visit MLB.com to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

Jordan Wolf is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Kansas City Royals, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez

Mondesi will get starts at SS; Esky in CF?

MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- The streak may soon be coming to an end.

A day after Royals manager Ned Yost brushed aside questions about when infielder Adalberto Mondesi, presumably a big part of the team's future, may start at shortstop instead of Alcides Escobar, Yost said on Tuesday he now plans to play Mondesi some at shortstop.

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KANSAS CITY -- The streak may soon be coming to an end.

A day after Royals manager Ned Yost brushed aside questions about when infielder Adalberto Mondesi, presumably a big part of the team's future, may start at shortstop instead of Alcides Escobar, Yost said on Tuesday he now plans to play Mondesi some at shortstop.

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Yost said he wanted to discuss the issue with Escobar first before announcing anything to the media.

"It'll probably be one time a week or two times a week, but we are going to play [Mondesi] some at short," Yost said. "And probably on those days, we're going to be moving Esky around, too. When I was in Milwaukee, Esky played center field. He can play third. He was probably one of the best athletes we had in the organization. Still extremely athletic."

Video: KC@STL: Escobar, Merrifield connect to rob Ozuna

One issue at stake was Escobar's streak -- he started for the 406th straight time on Tuesday, a club record and the longest active streak in the Majors.

"We talked about the streak last night a little bit," Yost said. "There will be times when he'll sit."

Escobar's response?

"He was excited about the opportunity," Yost said. "He's at a point in his career now where it will increase his value if he can play multiple positions, especially center field, third base, second base and shortstop as he can. So he was excited about that, something a little different. He understands exactly where we are with Mondesi. He was very, very, very good about the whole thing."

The Royals have little to lose by exploring new lineups and new positions for players. They entered Tuesday with a 22-50 record. And Escobar, hitting .206, was mired in a 3-for-45 slump.

"It's a good chance to experiment right now," Yost said. "There's nothing that's going to make or break us. You can start looking at things a little bit differently, and start experimenting with some things, and seeing how they look."

Who will close?
Yost also said he will try several candidates to replace closer Kelvin Herrera, who was traded to the Nationals on Monday.

The options includes Wily Peralta, Brandon Maurer, Justin Grimm and Kevin McCarthy.

Video: HOU@KC: Maurer strikes out Gattis in 8th inning

"Maurer has done it before," Yost said. "Peralta and Grimm have the stuff, and McCarthy has been reliable. We'll just see who takes the job."

Fillmyer up
To fill the open spot on the 25-man roster, the Royals called up right-hander Heath Fillmyer from Triple-A Omaha. Fillmyer was acquired in the offseason from the A's in the Brandon Moss trade.

Fillmyer, 24, was 4-5 with a 5.75 ERA in 13 starts for Omaha. Yost said he will pitch out of the bullpen here.

"It's a great feeling," Fillmyer said of getting called up to the Major Leagues. "You've been waiting for the kind of news like that your whole life. You've been working your whole life for it, and I'm just grateful for it. It's awesome to be here."

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

Kansas City Royals, Alcides Escobar, Heath Fillmyer, Adalberto Mondesi

Pratto homers, wins All-Star Game MVP

MLB.com @wboor

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.

Matt Thaiss and Taylor Ward each put together huge offensive performances to lead Triple-A Salt Lake to a 17-9 win over Colorado Springs.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.

Matt Thaiss and Taylor Ward each put together huge offensive performances to lead Triple-A Salt Lake to a 17-9 win over Colorado Springs.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

The duo combined for nine hits, three homers and four RBIs in the Bees' offensive explosion. Most notably, Thaiss set a career high with five hits and Ward turned in the second two-homer game of his career.

Thaiss, the Angels' No. 8 prospect, hit a solo homer in the second and also added a double as he finished 5-for-7 and boosted his average to .340 through 23 games with the Bees. The big performance was also the second in as many days for Thaiss, who went 2-for-5 with a grand slam on Monday.

Ward, the Angels' No. 13 prospect, had a perfect night at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a pair of walks and four runs scored. The catcher hit a solo homer in the third and then added a two-run blast in the fourth. He also added a double and is hitting .328 in the 14 games since he was promoted from Double-A Mobile.

Other top prospect performances from Tuesday's action:

No. 51 overall prospect Alex Faedo (Tigers' No. 3) certainly appeared ready for the advanced competition as he made his debut with Double-A Erie. Faedo, who posted a 3.10 ERA through 12 starts with Class A Advanced Lakeland, matched his season high with seven strikeouts as he threw 55 of his 83 pitches for strikes across six innings. The right-hander also walked two and gave up two runs on two hits.

• No. 76 overall prospect Adonis Medina (Phillies' No. 2) set a season high with 10 strikeouts as he cruised through six innings of one-run ball for Class A Advanced Clearwater. Medina, who has given up one earned run or fewer in four of his past five starts, threw 64 of his 95 pitches for strikes in the outing.

• No. 79 overall prospect Carter Kieboom (Nationals' No. 3) put together a memorable performance in the Carolina League All-Star Game. Kieboom, who has homered 11 times in 61 games with Class A Advanced Potomac this season, went deep in the exhibition, one of his three hits on the night.

Blue Jays No. 8 prospect Ryan Borucki spun his first complete game of the season as he led Triple-A Buffalo to a win over Pawtucket. Borucki, who threw 62 of his 93 pitches for strikes, gave up three hits and walked one over seven scoreless innings. The lefty also notched four strikeouts and lowered his ERA to 3.27 with his fourth scoreless start of the year.

Borucki notches a strikeout

• Blue Jays No. 9 prospect T.J. Zeuch has been lights out for Double-A New Hampshire lately and that trend continued once again. Zeuch was stuck with a no-decision after giving up a pair of unearned runs over seven innings. The 22-year-old struck out seven and has given up two earned runs or fewer in each of his past six starts.

• Phillies No. 9 prospect Ranger Suarez picked up his third win of the season as he fired a complete game for Double-A Reading. Suarez, 22, gave up one run over seven innings and lowered his ERA to 3.04 -- the lowest it's been all season. The left-hander also walked two and struck out five in the outing.

Mariners No. 2 prospect Evan White put forth a strong showing in the California League All-Star Game. White helped lift the North to a win over the South as he went 2-for-4 with a trio of RBIs. White's highlight came in the third inning as he blasted a two-run homer to help the North break the game open.

Pirates No. 18 prospect Clay Holmes' run of dominance continued as he picked up his fourth straight win for Triple-A Indianapolis. Holmes, who has given up one earned run or less in each of those starts, surrendered one run over a season high 7 1/3 innings. The right-hander didn't issue a walk for the third time this season and also matched his season high with eight strikeouts. Holmes gave up five hits and threw 67 of his 100 pitches for strikes.

Holmes notches eighth strikeout

Royals No. 2 prospect Nick Pratto made the most of his All-Star experience, helping the South top the North in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game. Pratto, who was named the game's MVP, hit a two-run homer in the fifth and finished with a game-high four RBIs on a 2-for-5 night.

Twins No. 13 prospect Travis Blankenhorn stuffed the box score in Class A Fort Myers' win over Tampa. The third baseman put together his seventh three-hit game of the season, going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Blankenhorn also drove in two, scored twice and picked up his fifth stolen base of the season.

Yankees No. 5 prospect Luis Medina put up nothing but zeros in his 2018 debut with Rookie-level Pulaski. Medina didn't yield a hit over his four scoreless frames, but the outing wasn't quite as smooth as that line would dictate. The 19-year-old gave up one unearned run, struck out four and issued five walks and he threw 43 of his 78 pitches for strikes.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

Royals, Yost emotional over losing Herrera

All-Star closer was last link to dominant relief trio of HDH
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- Kelvin Herrera. Wade Davis. Greg Holland.

The Royals' famed HDH bullpen was one of the most feared trios in the game for years.

KANSAS CITY -- Kelvin Herrera. Wade Davis. Greg Holland.

The Royals' famed HDH bullpen was one of the most feared trios in the game for years.

Holland was the first to go, lost to Tommy John surgery and then free agency. Then Davis was traded to the Cubs.

And now with the last of that trio, Kelvin Herrera, moving on after being traded to the Nationals on Monday, Royals players inside the clubhouse reflected on the memory of just how great HDH was.

"We were pretty lucky to see that every day," Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas said. "The fans were lucky to see that. Just having them going out there every day and picking our offense up.

"We knew once we got in the fifth or sixth or seventh inning, if we could find a way to get up by one run, we were going to win that game. I mean, having three closers pitching in the seventh, eighth and ninth was obviously unbelievable. And something I will remember [forever]."

Video: TEX@KC: Herrera reflects on his time in Kansas City

Manager Ned Yost said the HDH trio didn't make his life easier. "It just made me a helluva lot smarter," Yost said.

Where does the HDH trio rank all time?

"It's really right up there," Yost said. "I remember the old 'Nasty Boys' group in Cincinnati, they were really, really good. But there's not a lot of three-combo guys, guys that were all three closers and all three were lockout guys. [Norm] Charlton, Randy Myers and [Rob] Dibble, and then the HDH is about the only [other one] I can come up with."

Tweet from @duffkc41: Roomies at the Days Inn in surprise AZ for extended spring.. to world champions together. This dude brings new definition to competitor! Love you bro! Washington got a good one! Good luck my dude! Royals forever no matter where you go. https://t.co/nzzoA7VFZF

Yost admitted he knew the time would come soon when they had to trade Herrera, a pending free agent, though that didn't make it any easier.

Outfielder Alex Gordon, in fact, said Yost was in tears when he told the team of the trade prior to the Royals' 6-3 loss to the Rangers.

Video: MLB Tonight on Herrera being traded to the Nats

"We were all getting ready for the game, and Ned walked in crying into the training room," Gordon said. "That should just explain how much [Herrera] kind of meant to us. Ned told us the news, and we rushed in here as soon as we could, and said our good-byes. Luckily, at least we got to say our good-byes, and tell him how much he meant to all of us, and just what a great teammate he was, and player and person for this city."

Video: Moore, Yost talk Kelvin Herrera trade

Catcher Salvador Perez, too, seemed shaken by the news.

"Kind of hard, bro," Perez said. "I've known him since the first time I got here in Kansas City, 2006, 12 years ago. Expected for him to get traded. And a good thing for him. He's gonna be a free agent next year, and maybe we'll have him back. He has the opportunity to again be in the playoffs, a great teammate. It's kind of good for him, for his career. We're sad, I'm sad, and I love him like my brother."

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

Kansas City Royals, Kelvin Herrera

Kennedy, KC can't overcome Rangers HRs

Right-hander labors during pivotal 3rd inning in series opener
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- Five of Ian Kennedy's six innings were sharp, but his shaky third frame was the difference in the game.

Kennedy gave up five runs and four hits in the Royals' 6-3 loss to the Rangers on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium, with four runs coming in the third inning. After opening the third with a strikeout, Kennedy walked two and allowed a single before Adrian Beltre sent a first-pitch knuckle curve flying for a three-run homer.

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KANSAS CITY -- Five of Ian Kennedy's six innings were sharp, but his shaky third frame was the difference in the game.

Kennedy gave up five runs and four hits in the Royals' 6-3 loss to the Rangers on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium, with four runs coming in the third inning. After opening the third with a strikeout, Kennedy walked two and allowed a single before Adrian Beltre sent a first-pitch knuckle curve flying for a three-run homer.

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"The pitch to Beltre was a mistake," manager Ned Yost said. "He got a curveball up and out over the middle of the plate there, and Beltre hit it out of the park. But outside of that, I just thought he was really, really good."

Kennedy allowed just two hits outside of that third inning, one of which was a Shin-Soo Choo leadoff homer. But the damage was done.

"One really bad inning," Kennedy said. "Cost us the game. One pitch, hung a curveball, that three-run homer's the big swing. I felt like I pitched better than the line, but it just doesn't matter when you make one bad pitch and it costs you the game."

It was the Royals' seventh loss in a row, and their 13th in 14 games.

Kennedy settled in after Beltre's blast, retiring 11 of the final 13 hitters he faced and striking out eight overall.

Wily Peralta made his Royals debut in relief after replacing Brian Flynn in the seventh. Peralta allowed one run and walked three in 1 1/3 innings.

Adalberto Mondesi's RBI double scored Abraham Almonte and Mondesi came home on a sac fly by Mike Moustakas. It was Mondesi's first start since being called up from Triple-A Omaha on Sunday.

Video: TEX@KC: Herrera legs out an RBI triple to right

Rosell Herrera, making his first start as a Royal, knocked in a run in the fourth with a triple to deep right field.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
The Royals had something brewing in the fifth, when Alex Gordon walked, Moustakas singled and Salvador Perez got a hit to load the bases with one out. Hunter Dozier came up with the potential tying and go-ahead runs on first and second, but he grounded into an inning-ending double play on the second pitch.

Video: TEX@KC: Colon gets out of a bases-loaded jam with DP

SOUND SMART
Rangers starter Bartolo Colon is no stranger to the Mondesi family. When Adalberto stepped to the plate and hit his third-inning RBI double, he joined his father Raul -- who was 2-for-11 in his career against Colon -- in facing the veteran right-hander. They're the fourth father-son combo to step to the plate against Colon, who has pitched in the big leagues since 1997. More >

Video: TEX@KC: Mondesi lines an RBI double to right

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Delino DeShields tried to advance to second in the seventh after a pitch in the dirt, but Gold Glove catcher Perez located the ball and made a perfect throw to Alcides Escobar for the out. The Rangers challenged, but the out call was confirmed.

Video: TEX@KC: Perez nabs DeShields at 2nd, call confirmed

During the review, DeShields was chatting it up with Royals infielders and missed the decision. Confused, he went back to second for a few seconds despite being called out. Once he realized the situation, he ran back to the dugout as Perez smiled and waved him off the field.

Video: TEX@KC: Perez waves DeShields off field after review

UP NEXT
Royals right-hander Jason Hammel (2-7, 4.89 ERA) will take the mound for the middle game of the series at 7:15 p.m. CT on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium. Left-hander Cole Hamels (3-6, 3.69) will start for the Rangers. Hammel is 2-2 with a 2.56 ERA over his past five starts and he pitched 7 1/3 innings of two-run ball against the Reds on Wednesday.

Jordan Wolf is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Kansas City Royals, Ian Kennedy

Royals trade Herrera to Nats for 3 prospects

No. 8 INF Gutierrez, No. 15 OF Perkins, RHP Morel come to KC
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals continued their quest to restock the farm system as they traded closer Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals prior to Monday night's game against the Rangers.

In exchange, the Royals acquired three Minor Leaguers: infielder Kelvin Gutierrez, who was ranked as the Nationals' No. 10 prospect by MLB Pipeline, outfielder Blake Perkins, the No. 11 prospect, and right-handed pitcher Yohanse Morel.

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals continued their quest to restock the farm system as they traded closer Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals prior to Monday night's game against the Rangers.

In exchange, the Royals acquired three Minor Leaguers: infielder Kelvin Gutierrez, who was ranked as the Nationals' No. 10 prospect by MLB Pipeline, outfielder Blake Perkins, the No. 11 prospect, and right-handed pitcher Yohanse Morel.

Gutierrez, who is now ranked as the Royals' No. 8 prospect, will be optioned to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Perkins, now the club's No. 15 prospect, will be assigned to Class A Advanced Wilmington and Morel will join the Surprise Royals (Rookie).

Herrera, who is eligible to be a free agent after this season, was believed by many to be the Royals' top trade asset as he had a 1.05 ERA with 14 saves.

"Kelvin, he's family," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "We've known Kelvin since he signed with us, since he was 16 years old. He's one of the very best competitors that I've ever been around, probably this organization has seen, truthfully. Without him, there's no way we can ever make it to a World Series, win a World Series.

"Just like I told him and [manager Ned Yost] told him, he's about winning championships, and he's got a chance to go over to Washington and compete to win a division and be in the playoffs, and win a World Series. Once we articulated that to him, he kind of perked up a little bit, and you could see his juices getting going a little bit."

Herrera took the news hard at first, he said.

"This is a moment that was painful, even though they've been talking about it a lot in media and social media," Herrera said. "This is a moment that I never wanted to see.

Tweet from @KelvinHerrera40: Thank you @Royals for everything these past 12 years, from the Glass family, to the FO, to my coaching staff, to my teammates, to every employee who made me feel family. I���m also very thankful for all our fans, you guys are the best and I���m gonna miss you all #ForeverRoyal pic.twitter.com/qmcKW7KmQi

"I've been playing with [Danny Duffy], [Mike Moustakas], [Salvador Perez], [Eric Hosmer] since I was 18 years old. Then we came here together, made me feel better. Then after that, we went to the World Series. Winning one of them was the best experience ever."

Video: TEX@KC: Broadcasters chat about the Herrera trade

Moore now has traded two assets, Jon Jay and Herrera, well before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"We'd like to be holding on to our players longer," Moore said, "but where we are in the standings and what we're faced with, how we're playing, if we can get the right deals, it's important to move ...

"[The three guys we got] we obviously like. We spent a great deal of time over the last couple weeks trying to find the right fits. I believe that we found three really high-quality guys. Gutierrez and Perkins are both elite-type defenders with upside with the bat. Makeup is very good."

Video: Moore, Yost talk Kelvin Herrera trade

Gutierrez, 23, hit .274 (63-for-230) with six doubles, three triples, five homers and 36 runs scored in 58 games for Double-A Harrisburg this season. He was also 10-for-11 in stolen-base attempts. He was added to the 40-man roster last fall.

MLB Pipeline wrote of Gutierrez: "The Nationals view Gutierrez as one of the better pure hitters in their system. He has a relatively simple inside-out stroke from the right side of the plate that produces hard contact across the whole field and fuels his projection as an above-average hitter. And while he hasn't yet figured out how to apply his raw power during games, club officials do expect him to clear more fences once he becomes more comfortable firing his barrel and turning on the ball."

Video: MLB Tonight on Herrera being traded to the Nats

Perkins, a 21-year-old switch-hitting outfielder, was selected in the second round of the 2015 MLB Draft. He hit .234/.344/.290 (59-for-252) with 11 doubles, a homer and 39 runs scored in 65 games with Class A Advanced Potomac.

Wrote MLB Pipeline of Perkins: "The Nationals helped Perkins become a switch-hitter upon entering the pro ranks, and the club is thrilled with his early returns from both sides of the plate. He made huge strides as a lefty in 2017, collecting 25 of his 39 extra-base hits including all eight of his home runs from that side. ... Perkins' plus speed translated to 31 steals in his first full season, and he should continue to swipe bags with ease thanks to his strong on-base skills."

Morel, a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher from Samana, Dominican Republic, is in his first professional season after signing as a non-drafted free agent last July.

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

Kansas City Royals, Kelvin Gutierrez, Kelvin Herrera

Royals foiled in 8th after Keller's strong start

Rookie right-hander exits with lead following Dozier's go-ahead HR
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- For the second time this week, the Royals held a late lead, which in recent years almost assured them a victory.

But those bullpens of yesteryear are but a memory now. The Royals gave up a one-run lead in the ninth inning to start this homestand on Monday in an eventual loss, and the bullpen couldn't hold a one-run lead against the Astros on Sunday afternoon.

View Full Game Coverage

KANSAS CITY -- For the second time this week, the Royals held a late lead, which in recent years almost assured them a victory.

But those bullpens of yesteryear are but a memory now. The Royals gave up a one-run lead in the ninth inning to start this homestand on Monday in an eventual loss, and the bullpen couldn't hold a one-run lead against the Astros on Sunday afternoon.

View Full Game Coverage

Right-hander Brandon Maurer gave up a game-tying home run to Carlos Correa in the eighth inning, and the Astros added two more runs in the inning off Maurer and left-hander Tim Hill for a 7-4 win and a sweep of the three-game set at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals have lost six straight, and 12 of 13.

Royals 22-year-old starter Brad Keller was solid against a red-hot Astros team that has won 11 straight. Keller gave up three runs over six innings in his fourth Major League start.

"He's a kid with a lot of aptitude," manager Ned Yost beamed afterward. "He learns very quickly. He retains, he seeks knowledge. He's a smart kid."

Video: HOU@KC: Yost discusses Keller's aptitude for the game

Even the Astros were impressed.

"He's 22? Really? Wow," Correa said. "A lot of potential. A really good pitcher. He's not a comfortable at-bat out there. He did a good job shutting us down. Wow, he's 22? That's impressive. He's a good pitcher."

Video: KC@HOU: Dozier smashes a 2-run homer to left-center

Hunter Dozier clubbed his third home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third inning that gave the Royals a 4-2 lead.

Keller got out of a huge jam in the sixth. Clinging to a 4-3 lead, Keller gave up singles to Josh Reddick and Evan Gattis that put runners on first and third with none out.

But Keller struck out Marwin Gonzalez on a 3-2 fastball, then he got Brian McCann to roll into a 4-6-3 double play, preserving the lead.

"I was able to get deep into the game, keep the team in it," Keller said. "To keep a team like that, keep the ball on the ground with them, I feel like I did pretty well as far as that. That's a good hitting team, and they've got pop so to keep them on the ground, I'm happy with that.

"[In the sixth we had a] leadoff single and then wild pitch, then another hit, just kind of snowballed real fast on me. I just kind of settled down. Then I got a three-ball count to Gonzalez right there, and settled down and made pitches right there. I'm pretty happy with that as well."

Video: KC@HOU: Merrifield leaves after fouling ball off knee

Royals super utility man Whit Merrifield fouled a pitch off the inside of his left knee and immediately went to the ground in the second inning. He eventually limped off the field with help from athletic trainer Nick Kenney and was replaced by Adalberto Mondesi. The club announced that Merrifield sustained a contusion and is considered day to day.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Mike Moustakas was ejected in the bottom of the third inning and Danny Duffy in the sixth for arguing from the dugout. Moustakas had moments before been called out at home on a close play trying to score from second base on Salvador Perez's single to left. Royals replay specialist Bill Duplissea, an MLB-best 17-of-20 in challenges coming into the game, called for a review. But the call was ruled to stand, which infuriated the dugout, including Moustakas, who began jawing with Tumpane. More >

Video: HOU@KC: Moustakas ejected for arguing call in the 3rd

"I mean, they're not gonna overturn that," Yost said of the challenge. "Umpires, it's not clear and convincing enough for them in New York to overturn that. I felt like the hand was in there before the tag was made. It was close, but I felt like it was in there before it was made."

As for the ejections, Yost said, "At times, they can get upset with the strike zone a little bit, some of that, too. [Tumpane] gave [Moustakas] a warning. Moose was barking at him, he gave him a warning, and he said something."

Video: HOU@KC: Duffy ejected for arguing prior to 6th inning

UP NEXT
Right-hander Ian Kennedy (1-6, 5.13 ERA) takes the mound for the Royals as they open a three-game set with the Rangers at 7:15 p.m. CT on Monday at Kauffman Stadium. Kennedy pitched his best game of the season on Tuesday against the Reds, throwing eight scoreless innings while permitting just three hits. Right-hander Bartolo Colon (3-4, 4.94 ERA) will start for the Rangers.

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

Kansas City Royals, Hunter Dozier, Danny Duffy, Brad Keller, Whit Merrifield, Mike Moustakas

Moose, Duffy ejected after KC loses challenge

Royals dugout unhappy when out call on play at plate stands
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas was ejected in the bottom of the third inning by home-plate umpire John Tumpane for arguing from the dugout in Sunday's 7-4 loss at Kauffman Stadium.

Moustakas had moments before been called out at home on a close play trying to score from second base on Salvador Perez's single to left. Astros left fielder Marwin Gonzalez threw a strike -- 95.9 mph, according to Statcast™ -- to catcher Brian McCann, who applied the tag as Moustakas' left hand slid across the plate.

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KANSAS CITY -- Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas was ejected in the bottom of the third inning by home-plate umpire John Tumpane for arguing from the dugout in Sunday's 7-4 loss at Kauffman Stadium.

Moustakas had moments before been called out at home on a close play trying to score from second base on Salvador Perez's single to left. Astros left fielder Marwin Gonzalez threw a strike -- 95.9 mph, according to Statcast™ -- to catcher Brian McCann, who applied the tag as Moustakas' left hand slid across the plate.

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Video: HOU@KC: Gonzalez nabs Moustakas with rocket throw

Royals replay specialist Bill Duplissea, an MLB-best 17-of-20 in challenges coming into the game, called for a review. But the call was ruled to stand, which infuriated the Royals' dugout, including Moustakas, who began jawing with Tumpane.

After the ejection, Moustakas' third of his career (two from Tumpane), manager Ned Yost gave Tumpane an earful as well. Yost said later he was asking for an explanation of the Moustakas ejection.

"I thought I was safe and I still think I'm safe," Moustakas said. "If he had called me safe originally, I don't think they would have had evidence to overturn it."

Yost said Tumpane had given Moustakas a warning before tossing him.

"We make the call on the field, it goes to replay, somebody else totally decides it," crew chief Mark Wagner told a pool reporter. "They decided that the call stood.

"While the next pitch was coming in, Moustakas was yelling from the dugout. After the pitch, [Tumpane] addressed him. He continued to yell, and he was ejected."

Video: HOU@KC: Duffy ejected for arguing prior to 6th inning

In the top of the sixth inning, Tumpane ejected Royals left-hander Danny Duffy for arguing from the dugout. That was Duffy's first career ejection.

"We all thought [Moustakas] was safe," Duffy said. "Maybe I'm seeing it with biased eyes and there wasn't enough evidence to overturn it. I don't know who's in New York. We were pretty much in shock. But we get punked by replay all the time.

"I'm personally getting tired of getting punked by Tumpane. I think we all are. And I think it needs to be looked at. I'm not saying there's bias there, but I'm sure it will go back to whoever it needs to go back to."

In June 2017 at Kauffman Stadium, the Royals also took issue with Tumpane, especially his balls-strikes calls, so much so that then reliever Peter Moylan was ejected for the first time in his career.

Later that season in Baltimore, Moustakas was ejected by Tumpane after getting called out on strikes. Yost was ejected as well.

Moustakas was asked if there are specific issues between he and Tumpane.

"I don't know," Moustakas said. "We've had some close plays. And I think the last one was in Baltimore and there were some close calls, and that's just baseball."

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

Kansas City Royals, Mike Moustakas

Royals place Soler on DL in flurry of moves

Mondesi, R. Herrera, Peralta recalled from Triple-A Omaha
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals made several roster moves prior to Sunday's game against the Astros, starting with the expected one, placing outfielder Jorge Soler on the 10-day disabled list because of a broken metatarsal bone in his left foot which will sideline him at least six weeks.

The club also selected the contract of right-hander Wily Peralta from Triple-A Omaha, and recalled outfielder Rosell Herrera and infielder Adalberto Mondesi from Omaha as well. To make room, the Royals optioned infielder Ramon Torres and right-hander Scott Barlow to Omaha.

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KANSAS CITY -- The Royals made several roster moves prior to Sunday's game against the Astros, starting with the expected one, placing outfielder Jorge Soler on the 10-day disabled list because of a broken metatarsal bone in his left foot which will sideline him at least six weeks.

The club also selected the contract of right-hander Wily Peralta from Triple-A Omaha, and recalled outfielder Rosell Herrera and infielder Adalberto Mondesi from Omaha as well. To make room, the Royals optioned infielder Ramon Torres and right-hander Scott Barlow to Omaha.

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"We wanted Barlow back throwing, and Torres back playing regularly," manager Ned Yost said. "Simple. Our whole goal was to get [reliever Brandon Maurer] and Peralta throwing well again, and that has been the case. We wanted Mondesi to be playing healthy again, and that has happened.

"Just wanted to get some younger kids up here, the guys we're going forward with."

The Royals claimed Herrera off waivers recently from the Reds. A 25-year-old switch-hitter, Herrera hit .278 at Omaha in 10 games with three doubles, two triples and a home run.

"He can play multiple positions," Yost said. "Plays all three outfield spots and third base. Going to be interesting to see him play."

Mondesi, 22, battled a hamstring injury in Spring Training and has played in 29 games at Omaha, hitting .250 with eight doubles, three triples and five home runs. He was 10-for-10 in stolen bases there.

Mondesi hit .181 in 72 games with the Royals the past two seasons entering Sunday's series finale at Kauffman Stadium.

"Gonna work him in easily," Yost said. "Play him 3-4 times a week. Get him into the flow and the mix. He's never had success up here, so we'll just pace him. Let him get his feet on the ground. Just ease into it."

Peralta, 29, was signed as a free agent from the Brewers in the offseason, but he struggled in Spring Training and was designated for assignment. He was re-signed and had a 4.37 ERA at Omaha in 18 games.

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

Kansas City Royals, Rosell Herrera, Adalberto Mondesi, Wily Peralta, Jorge Soler

Father's Day special for new Astros, KC dads

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

KANSAS CITY -- This Father's Day is especially sentimental for Royals pitcher Justin Grimm, as it's his first as a father.

Grimm and his wife, Gina, welcomed their son, Austin James Grimm, into the world on May 25. With the emotion from such a momentous moment in his life still fresh in his heart, the third Sunday of June elicits a new feeling this year for Grimm.

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KANSAS CITY -- This Father's Day is especially sentimental for Royals pitcher Justin Grimm, as it's his first as a father.

Grimm and his wife, Gina, welcomed their son, Austin James Grimm, into the world on May 25. With the emotion from such a momentous moment in his life still fresh in his heart, the third Sunday of June elicits a new feeling this year for Grimm.

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"Definitely has a new meaning," Grimm said. "Past few days, just being able to go home to my son, it's just been an awesome feeling."

Aside from the present, being a new father has caused Grimm to reflect on his past experiences with fatherhood.

"Just to think about my dad as well, it definitely gives that a new meaning," Grimm said. "It kind of brings to light everything that he went through early on with me and everything, so it's more of an appreciation for him as well as enjoying new time with the little man."

Astros pitcher Brad Peacock is also celebrating his first Father's Day. His wife, Stephanie, gave birth to a son, Colton, on June 24, 2017. Peacock was looking forward to heading home to Houston late Sunday to see his wife and son, who are traveling to Texas from Florida.

"It's been fun so far, just having to take care of him every day," Peacock said. "Just watching him grow, he's started almost walking. He took his first step two nights ago and I got a video of it. It was awesome."

The Royals and Astros wore special light-blue hats designed to promote prostate cancer awareness for Father's Day, as will the other 28 clubs across the Major Leagues. Other blue garments will be worn, as will the symbolic blue ribbon worn by all players and on-field personnel across MLB. All royalty proceeds from the sale of blue gear will go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer.

Astros pitcher Collin McHugh's father, Scott, is battling prostate cancer and recently had hip surgery. This is also Collin's second Father's Day.

"It's been a hard year this year," he said. "He had to have hip surgery not too long ago so he's doing his rehab and recovering from that. We just understand every day, every week, every month is a blessing and we play it by ear and try to live it up as much as we can for as long as we've got."

Father's Day also signals the end of the Prostate Cancer Foundation's "Home Run Challenge," which allowed Major League Baseball fans to make donations and pledge funds for every homer hit by their favorite clubs in June. As of Friday, more than $1.85 million had been raised by this year's efforts, and nearly $50 million had been raised since the program's inception.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Jordan Wolf is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Justin Grimm, Collin McHugh, Brad Peacock

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