KANSAS CITY -- When manager Ned Yost went to the mound to pull rookie left-hander Eric Skoglund from Tuesday night's 1-0 win over the Tigers after Skoglund's brilliant outing of 6 1/3 scoreless innings, Yost had some simple advice:
"I went out there and I told him, 'Look, you did a great job tonight. Now, when you're walking in, I want you to listen to the crowd because they're going to tell you how good you did, too,'" Yost said.
Skoglund followed Yost's advice and became overwhelmed by the standing ovation from the crowd of 21,864 at Kauffman Stadium. What followed was an unplanned, epic hat tip as Skoglund saluted virtually every section in the stadium.
"It gave us all goosebumps," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said of the emphatic hat tip, "because you think about your first game. ... You don't really have control of your body. You have to embrace moments like that."
Skoglund's moment will be one he'll likely never forget: He gave up just two hits, walked one and struck out five in a winning Major League debut.
"Walking off, that's when it all hit me," Skoglund said. "Walking off the mound and all the infielders hugging me."
On hand were Skoglund's parents, Cindi and Lennie; an aunt and uncle from Florida; and many more relatives from Iowa.
"[My parents] made sacrifices to get me here," Skoglund said, pausing to collect himself. "It was special."
Skoglund will have memories abound, like striking out J.D. Martinez with two on and two out in the first. Or striking out future Hall of Famer Jose Cabrera on three pitches.
"That was a lot of fun," Skoglund said.
Skoglund's teammates certainly appreciated his efforts.
"I think we can take some more outings like that," Hosmer said. "That was fun to watch. It really was.
"I think the biggest thing that impressed all of us was that there was no fear. He just kept attacking."
The Tigers were impressed, too.
"He's so tall [6-feet-7] that when he throws 89-90, it looks like 93-94," Cabrera said. "When he throws 93-94, it looks like 97. He's so tall and delivers the ball so close."
Skoglund, who knew he might get called up from Triple-A Omaha when he was scratched from a start on Sunday, had a few scares on Tuesday on two deep drives to the warning track in right at spacious Kauffman Stadium that were caught by Jorge Bonifacio.
"When I walked into the dugout after those I thought, 'This isn't Omaha, anymore,'" Skoglund said.
Skoglund admitted to having some butterflies beforehand, though those disappeared once he started warming up. And how did he feel when he knew he'd be facing Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander?
"I thought, 'Bring it on, baby,'" Skoglund said.