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Royals can't recover after Kennedy's foot injury

X-rays negative, but right-hander's Sunday start in jeopardy
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy was feeling good, making the pitches he wanted to make, and then a line drive off the bat of Ryan Braun in the third inning changed everything.

Braun's liner -- which had an exit velocity of 107 mph, according to Statcast™ -- caromed off Kennedy's right foot and back toward home plate for an RBI infield single. Moments later, Travis Shaw hammered a three-run home run to seal Kennedy's and the Royals' fate in a 5-2 loss to the Brewers on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

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KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy was feeling good, making the pitches he wanted to make, and then a line drive off the bat of Ryan Braun in the third inning changed everything.

Braun's liner -- which had an exit velocity of 107 mph, according to Statcast™ -- caromed off Kennedy's right foot and back toward home plate for an RBI infield single. Moments later, Travis Shaw hammered a three-run home run to seal Kennedy's and the Royals' fate in a 5-2 loss to the Brewers on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

View Full Game Coverage

Kennedy finished the third inning, but he couldn't put pressure on the foot while in the dugout and the Royals decided to end his night.

"It's right around my pinky toe," Kennedy said. " Right on the side of my foot. You could tell right as I took off my sock -- it was red."

X-rays were negative, but Kennedy said he had trouble pushing off the rubber with that foot, and thus was releasing his backside too quickly.

Video: MIL@KC: Kennedy on getting hit, right foot contusion

"I pulled that pitch right down the middle to Shaw," Kennedy said. "It felt like with a couple more pitches it'd be fine. But I yanked the changeup … I was making good pitches before that. It stinks because it felt good right up to that point. And then it cost us a chance to win. That's the most frustrating part."

Kennedy is scheduled to start on Sunday. He's not sure if he will make it.

"We're gonna wear a boot just to make sure and take pressure off for the next 12 hours or so," he said, "and try to figure out what's going on. Nothing's broken. That's the good thing."

The Royals had been in a festive mood earlier, celebrating the return of catcher Salvador Perez and outfielder Alex Gordon from the disabled list, not to mention the homecoming of former outfielder Lorenzo Cain (who homered).

Video: Must C Comeback: Salvy and Cain homer in returns

Perez, in his first game this season, homered, and also threw out Braun attempting to steal. Gordon had two hits, including a double.

Video: MIL@KC: Perez catches Braun stealing second base

Kennedy did not not record a strikeout for the first time in his career, ending his streak at 273 games, the second-longest active stretch to open a career behind David Price's 274.

"Yeah, that kind of stinks," Kennedy said. "They were being pretty aggressive, but I thought for sure I'd get one."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
The Royals had a chance to do some damage in the sixth inning, but they ran into some bad luck. Mike Moustakas led off with a walk and Perez hit a shot to third that went for a 5-4-3 double play. Perez's ball was hit 105 mph, according to Statcast™. Lucas Duda then drew a walk and Jorge Soler followed with another shot to third -- this one at 107.3 mph -- for a 5-3 putout.

SOUND SMART
Gordon became the fifth Royals player to record 300 doubles, joining George Brett, Hal McRae, Frank White and Amos Otis.

Video: MIL@KC: Gordon rips his 300th career double

HE SAID IT
"I was a little nervous. But I really enjoyed this. [The fans] really showed me some love. I wasn't expecting anything but love." -- Cain, on his return to Kauffman Stadium

Video: MIL@KC: Cain receives standing ovation in Kansas City

UP NEXT
Right-hander Jason Hammel (0-1, 3.20 ERA) takes the mound on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. CT for the finale of a two-game Interleague set against the Brewers at Kauffman Stadium. Hammel matched a career high with nine innings on Friday against the Tigers, and he gave up five hits and two runs while striking out four.

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

Kansas City Royals, Alex Gordon, Ian Kennedy, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, Burch Smith, Jorge Soler

Salvy belts 1st homer of '18 in return from DL

Gordon also activated before series opener with Brewers
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' lineup welcomed back two key components on Tuesday as catcher Salvador Perez and left fielder Alex Gordon were activated from the disabled list.

Finally, the lineup looked again like the one they left Spring Training with. And that's what it felt like for Perez.

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KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' lineup welcomed back two key components on Tuesday as catcher Salvador Perez and left fielder Alex Gordon were activated from the disabled list.

Finally, the lineup looked again like the one they left Spring Training with. And that's what it felt like for Perez.

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"It feels like Opening Day to me," Perez said, smiling.

Perez, who was in the starting lineup and batting cleanup, hit a home run in his second at-bat in a 5-2 loss to the Brewers. He suffered a Grade 2 sprain in his left knee two days before Opening Day when he slipped going up his stairs while carrying his luggage. The original prognosis suggested Perez would miss at least 4-6 weeks. Perez is back on the low end of that estimate.

"You know me," Perez said. "I like to play hard and compete."

Video: Must C Comeback: Salvy and Cain homer in returns

Gordon is recovering from a left hip labral tear. He, too, is back quicker than most thought. He started in left field on Tuesday after a brief rehab stint at Triple-A Omaha.

"I was only gone four days [in Omaha], but it felt like three weeks," Gordon said. "I wanted to get back soon."

To make room for Perez and Gordon, the Royals optioned catcher Cam Gallagher and outfielder Paulo Orlando to Omaha.

The Royals also placed struggling right-handed reliever Justin Grimm on the 10-day disabled list (retroactive to April 22) because of lower back stiffness and recalled left-hander Eric Stout from Omaha.

After a promising start to 2018, Grimm gave up 16 runs in his last five relief outings. His ERA is 21.86.

"He's not getting it done right now," manager Ned Yost said. "And there's a reason he's not getting it done because he can't fire off his back side. We need to calm [his back] down so he can start firing off his back side again."

Stout held opponents to a .214 batting average in five relief outings for Omaha this season.

The Royals chose to keep outfielder Abraham Almonte over Orlando. Almonte hit two home runs on the recent road trip, including a grand slam on Sunday in Detroit.

"He's done a nice job out there defensively," Yost said. "Has been swinging the bat well. It was a hard decision, but we went with him."

Umpire charity auction
Major League Baseball (MLB) umpires will offer up more than 300 items that include priceless autographed sports memorabilia, one-of-a-kind VIP experiences, and upgraded ticket packages during its 10th Annual UMPS CARE Charities Online Auction. The auction is currently underway at www.mlb.com/UmpsCare and closes at 9 p.m. CT on Monday. Some of the items up for bid include signed bats, cleats, jerseys, photos, and baseballs from some of the biggest stars. There are also opportunities to watch batting practice up close on the field at many MLB ballparks, hotel stays with game tickets, opportunities to have lunch with an MLB umpire, suites and tickets from Minor League Baseball clubs, golf foursomes and more.

All proceeds from the Online Auction support UMPS CARE Charities youth programs to provide Major League Baseball experiences for children awaiting adoption, Build-A-Bear Workshop experiences for hospitalized children coping with serious illnesses, college scholarships for deserving young adults who were adopted as children, and financial assistance for families in need.

"Each year thanks to the support from our friends in Major League Baseball and throughout the sports world we get some fantastic items for our auction, and this year is no exception," said former MLB umpire and Board President for UMPS CARE Charities Gary Darling. "This is the biggest fundraising initiative that we have to help so many children in need, and we can't thank everyone enough for all of the support. Please tell all of your friends, bid early and bid often to help this great cause."

Among the Royals items for sale include a George Brett signed jersey and bat, a Mike Moustakas signed jersey and bat, and a Perez signed bat and batting helmet.

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

Kansas City Royals, Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez

'Once-in-a-lifetime stuff' for Cain facing Royals

Brewers outfielder homers, receives huge ovation from fans
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain knew thoughts of the past would flood his mind upon his return to Kauffman Stadium. Royals fans and his old friends made sure of that in Tuesday night's 5-2 win in the series opener.

As Cain stepped onto the field for warmups, a huge cheer rose up from the stands. When he stepped into the batter's box to lead off, an even louder cheer greeted him.

View Full Game Coverage

KANSAS CITY -- Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain knew thoughts of the past would flood his mind upon his return to Kauffman Stadium. Royals fans and his old friends made sure of that in Tuesday night's 5-2 win in the series opener.

As Cain stepped onto the field for warmups, a huge cheer rose up from the stands. When he stepped into the batter's box to lead off, an even louder cheer greeted him.

View Full Game Coverage

After removing his batting helmet to salute the fans, Cain got a bro-hug from former teammate and playful social-media nemesis, Royals catcher Salvador Perez. And actually, Perez was back at his usual antics before the game, crashing Cain's pregame media conference. Cain finished an emotional night 2-for-3 with a homer and reached base four times.

"That's once-in-a-lifetime stuff," Cain said. "I enjoyed it."

Video: MIL@KC: Cain receives standing ovation in Kansas City

There were so many memories packed into his six years in Kansas City that Cain has trouble picking just one.

"You know how many good memories I had in K.C.?" Cain asks, leaning back in a black leather chair in his corner of the Brewers' clubhouse before the opener.

He ticks through some of them. Two World Series. Sweeping through the first three rounds of the playoffs in 2014 on the way to Kansas City's first Fall Classic berth in three decades. Scoring from first base on Eric Hosmer's single for the go-ahead run against the Blue Jays in the decisive Game 6 of the '15 American League Championship Series. His walk to spark a ninth-inning comeback against Matt Harvey and the Mets in Game 5 of the '15 World Series, a night that would end with the Royals popping champagne.

There are too many highlights, too many private moments with teammates, too many good memories with long-suffering Royals fans, to choose one, he says.

Then one flashes into his mind.

Video: MIL@KC: Cain on his homer, reception in Kansas City

"That parade," Cain said. "I've never seen so many people in one place in my life. Just blue everywhere. There were a lot of moments, but that parade was unreal."

*****

Cain doesn't have much to say about the way it ended. He knew "eventually, we were going to have to move on" in Kansas City.

"I can't wait to see LoLo," said Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas said before the opener. "That's a brother, you know. That's a guy we miss and we love."

The Royals were headed in a different direction and let Cain go in free agency without making an offer. After Cain signed with the Brewers for five years and $80 million in January, he received a congratulatory text message from Royals general manager Dayton Moore. It was a reminder, Cain said in Spring Training, that baseball is business.

In Milwaukee, Cain returned to the organization that made him a 17th-round Draft pick in 2004, when he had played baseball for barely three years. Cain was focused on basketball until his sophomore year of high school in Florida.

In 2010, when he made it to the Major Leagues with the Brewers, he was still learning lessons.

Longtime Brewers coach Ed Sedar offered an example. One day in Houston -- it must have been Sept. 15, from the way Sedar tells the story -- he telephoned Cain's hotel room at about 10:30 a.m.

Sedar recalls the conversation like this:

Sedar: "Hey, 'Lo,' what you doing?"

Cain: "Hey, Eddie! I'm just sitting back, watching TV in bed. What are you doing?"

Sedar: "I'm watching the team stretch."

Cain: "We've got a day game?!? I've got to go, Eddie!"

Sedar has told that story a lot since Cain returned, and it always gets a laugh. Ryan Braun remembers it.

"And it still happens," Braun said over the weekend. "I guarantee you, he had no idea what time the game was tonight. How he made it this far is amazing."

Braun was kidding, of course. He knows how Cain got this far. Braun has watched Cain compile a .303/.400/.461 slash line in the first 90 plate appearances of his second stint with the Brewers while playing a terrific center field.

It was on that promise that the Royals acquired Cain, along with young shortstop Alcides Escobar and pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi from the Brewers in December 2010 for Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt.

The trade worked for both teams. The Brewers set a franchise record with 96 regular-season wins in 2011 and made it to the National League Championship Series. The Royals added Cain and Escobar to a core of developing players that would go even farther.

"We grew up playing in this organization together," Moustakas said. "I can't wait to see him. I'm excited for him. I'm excited for what he got in the offseason. To go back to where he was originally from was pretty cool. It's just an awesome thing to be able to come back here, for him."

"It will be good to see him," said Royals catcher Drew Butera. "He's a good friend to all of us. When he steps between the lines, we'll try to beat him any way we can. But it will be good to see him, of course."

Cain said he wanted Royals fans to know he is genuinely thankful for their patience in the tough seasons leading up to those World Series years, and that he is looking forward to seeing them again.

"I expect that they'll show me some love," he said. "It was a good six-year run over there. Those fans always supported us and poured their hearts out to us when we played. I'm just happy we were able to give it back by winning that World Series. Those were good times."

Now he wants the same for Milwaukee.

"That's why I came here," Cain said. "That's a feeling you always remember. I've felt that feeling and I have a World Series ring to prove it. I want to share that feeling with everybody here."

Milwaukee Brewers, Lorenzo Cain

Despite now being on different teams, Salvy Perez found time to interrupt BFF Lorenzo Cain's press conference

Salvador Perez and Lorenzo Cain are the closest of friends. And despite Cain making his way to Milwaukee in the offseason, the two still share a close bond. As a matter of fact, during Royals FanFest in January, Salvy called Cain on the phone during an on-stage Q&A session. Kansas City fans truly missed him, and vice versa:

Inbox: How will Salvy's return impact Royals?

Beat reporter Jeffrey Flanagan answers questions from fans
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals have won two of three, somewhat easing a rough start to 2018. And there's a lot of ball left.

Let's get to your questions and concerns in this week's Inbox.

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals have won two of three, somewhat easing a rough start to 2018. And there's a lot of ball left.

Let's get to your questions and concerns in this week's Inbox.

Tweet from @thebsan: How much of an impact if any can Slavy have on the Royals pitching when he returns and is actually behind the plate. Specifically wondering about Duffy and the bullpen.

Salvador Perez's return will take place on Tuesday. Ned Yost brought up Perez's value again Sunday, reminding everyone what a major blow it was to lose Perez just hours before the home opener. Perez's impact on the staff is profound, and his presence in the middle of the lineup is even greater.

:: Submit a question to the Royals Inbox ::

Tweet from @jeffgates: Which outfielder is ent down when Gordon returns? A case is being made for Almonte to stay

The early guess was likely Abraham Almonte, who was claimed off waivers April 2. But Almonte has impressed the coaching staff and the front office primarily with his defense in center field (he has made numerous superb plays), and now his bat has started to pick up -- he hit a grand slam Sunday and has the Royals' two longest home runs this season, 426 feet and 425 feet. Paulo Orlando has a .459 OPS and has not played well defensively lately. Both have options, but Almonte appears to have earned a longer stay.

Tweet from @HondaDude7: your thoughts about Moose and his long term future with the Royals

The Mike Moustakas question is going to get more and more interesting the closer we get to the non-waiver Trade Deadline. The guess here is that Dayton Moore would be hesitant to flip Moustakas, at least until they had a sit-down about it. Yes, I can sense your eye-rolls, but keep in mind that Kansas City often operates with a little more compassion and sentimentalism than other teams do. Obviously, Moore must and ultimately will do what's best for the organization. Could that mean they sign Moose long-term? Possibly. Moustakas has grown into a formidable all-around offensive weapon, he's only 29, he has committed to his conditioning and most importantly, he plays to win. He's a presence in the clubhouse. But those same qualities could make him very attractive at the Trade Deadline as well. One more factor: Beyond Cheslor Cuthbert, the organization is not overflowing with third-base prospects.

Tweet from @ARSON911: How many games till trade value is reached for Jay, Duda, etc so we can get the kids playing?

In some regards, this team was constructed to flip at the Deadline. Guys like Lucas Duda, Jon Jay, Ryan Goins, etc., could bring some value in return if they are productive over the next two months. Kelvin Herrera has been lights out early in the season and likely would bring the biggest return. If the Royals are out of it by late July, deals will be made, and the final two months could be a lot of fun to watch as players such as Hunter Dozier, Raul Mondesi, Josh Staumont, Frank Schwindel, Ryan O'Hearn, etc., get a chance to show their potential up here.

Tweet from @eddievanhoglen: Bucholtz stay on 25 man roster after double header next weekend?

Clay Buchholz, who has looked terrific in extended spring camp and in his first two Minor League starts, won't be the 26th man because he is not on the 40-man roster. If he is added to the 25-man roster to start one of Saturday's doubleheader games, Kansas City will make an accompanying 40-man move, and he will be here to stay.

Tweet from @jediliz: Is salvy safe? I think there would be a huge backlash if he got traded

Moore told me repeatedly during the offseason that he doesn't believe the return he would get for Perez would merit trading him at this point.

Tweet from @JoshuaNeeley: With the Royals farm system being one of the worst in the league and not a lot of talent in the bigs, how long do you think this rebuild will realistically take?

The Royals bristle at the notion that their farm system is as bad as the rankings. Moore has pointed out there is a ton of talent in the low Minors, with prospects such as Khalil Lee, Nick Pratto, Seuly Matias, MJ Melendez, Michael Gigliotti, Emmanuel Rivera and so on. And Moore also points out correctly that guys like Moustakas and Eric Hosmer shot through the Minors fairly quickly. We could see many of those aforementioned prospects within two to three years.

Tweet from @rjlewis85: Has anyone heard from Ash Russell and where he stands on ever playing baseball again?

Right-hander Ashe Russell, 21, was Kansas City's first-round pick in 2015, but after an encouraging year of Rookie-level ball that season, he developed some confidence issues which escalated into serious command issues on the mound. He pitched briefly in '16 and then took '17 off as he contemplated his future in baseball. The Royals tell me Russell has resumed a throwing program in Arizona this spring and is working toward throwing some inning in extended spring camp eventually. They have not given up on him.

Tweet from @ItsReallyAllie: Is there any word or speculation on what���s being done with Maurer? Is he actually working on more control and constancy with his pitches or does he have more of an attitude problem?

It's a good question, but there aren't any major mechanical changes in store for Brandon Maurer. The Royals simply believe his issues can be resolved with a string of success at Triple-A and a much-needed boost of confidence. Maurer's stuff can be electric.

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

Kansas City Royals

Moose hits go-ahead HR in win; hit streak at 14

Flynn tosses 2 scoreless innings out of 'pen
MLB.com

DETROIT -- Mike Moustakas, needing a hit to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, did so dramatically, blasting a go-ahead three-run home run in the seventh inning to propel the Royals to an 8-5 win over the Tigers on Sunday at Comerica Park.

Moustakas hit a 2-2 changeup from right-hander Buck Farmer into the right-field seats, his sixth home run this season.

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DETROIT -- Mike Moustakas, needing a hit to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, did so dramatically, blasting a go-ahead three-run home run in the seventh inning to propel the Royals to an 8-5 win over the Tigers on Sunday at Comerica Park.

Moustakas hit a 2-2 changeup from right-hander Buck Farmer into the right-field seats, his sixth home run this season.

View Full Game Coverage

"After the first three or four [changeups], I was sitting on it and trying to get one up, and finally he ended up leaving one up, and I was able to get a good swing on it," Moustakas said. "I hit it pretty good. I didn't know if it was gonna hook. The other night I hit one, and it kind of took a little right turn, and I was trying to see if it was gonna stay fair. Once it got out there I knew it was gonna stay."

Video: KC@DET: Moustakas discusses go-ahead homer, 8-5 win

The Royals' struggling bullpen held the fort after Moustakas' home run, thanks to two scoreless innings from lefty Brian Flynn, and closer Kelvin Herrera, who got his fourth save.

"Really good job by Flynn," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We needed two scoreless innings to get to Kelvin and that's exactly what he did, with very little fanfare. I was hoping to get a second inning out of him. He was the most rested."

The Royals did not have a hit until Whit Merrifield homered to lead off the sixth inning. Moments later, center fielder Abraham Almonte hit a grand slam, his second home run this season and second career grand slam -- his other came with the Indians on Aug. 30, 2015.

Video: KC@DET: Merrifield ropes solo home run to left in 6th

Almonte's grand slam was the Royals' first hit this season with the bases loaded. They had been 0-for-15.

"I was looking for something up in the zone, kind of elevated and see if I could get a sac fly," Almonte said. "It felt good."

Left-hander Eric Skoglund started for the Royals and after a rough first inning -- a hit batter, two hits and two runs -- he settled down and blanked the Tigers through the fifth. But Skoglund, given a 5-2 lead, walked the first two hitters he faced in the sixth and was removed.

Skoglund wound up going five-plus innings and giving up four hits and four runs. Yost said he had a chat with Skoglund after the first inning.

Video: KC@DET: Skoglund induces double play to escape jam

"I thought he was OK," Yost said. "I thought the first inning he was a little tentative. He got on the attack in the second and was great from two through five, and then in the sixth, got a little fine again, two walks and he was done. But like I told him, these are all learning experiences. You got to trust your stuff and attack.

"I told him, 'One day you're going to figure out you're a pretty good pitcher. You need to get after them. You're tippy-toeing out there. Get on the attack and be aggressive.'"

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Big double play: With all the issues the Royals have had this season in the bullpen, there had to be thoughts of "Here we go again" when Nicholas Castellanos led off the eighth inning with a single off Flynn. But Flynn got Victor Martinez to chop into a 5-4-3 double play, ending the threat essentially. The Tigers didn't get another baserunner.

Video: KC@DET: Flynn gets 5-4-3 double play from Martinez

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Almonte, who was claimed off waivers earlier this month, has the Royals' two longest home runs this season -- 426 feet and the projected 425-foot grand slam, per Statcast™. More >

Video: KC@DET: Almonte clears bases with grand slam in 6th

HE SAID IT
"I heard about that. I hope she enjoys it." -- a smiling Almonte, on his grand slam netting a fan $25,000

UP NEXT
After an off-day on Monday, the Royals will return to action at Kauffman Stadium against the Brewers at 7:15 p.m. CT on Tuesday. Right-hander Ian Kennedy (1-2, 2.35 ERA) will take the mound. Kennedy gave up four earned runs and eight hits over five innings in his last start Wednesday in Toronto. Zach Davies (1-2, 4.84 ERA) starts for the Brewers.

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

Kansas City Royals, Brian Flynn, Mike Moustakas, Eric Skoglund

Almonte's slam caps Royals' 5-run 6th inning

Claimed off waivers, center fielder has club's 2 longest homers
MLB.com

DETROIT -- The Royals went into the sixth inning on Sunday against Tigers starter Francisco Liriano looking for their first hit.

They emerged with two home runs and a three-run lead on their way to an 8-5 victory.

View Full Game Coverage

DETROIT -- The Royals went into the sixth inning on Sunday against Tigers starter Francisco Liriano looking for their first hit.

They emerged with two home runs and a three-run lead on their way to an 8-5 victory.

View Full Game Coverage

The big blow was newcomer Abraham Almonte's second career grand slam, a shot into the right-field seats. It was Almonte's second home run this season and first grand slam since Aug. 30, 2015, when he was with the Indians.

Grand slams mean 40% off pizza

Almonte, who was claimed off waivers earlier this month, jumped on a 1-0 two-seamer from Liriano and belted it a projected 425 feet, per Statcast™.

"I was looking for something up in the zone, kind of elevated and see if I could get a sac fly," Almonte said. "That was a good feeling. Every time that I do something to help my team to perform on the field and win, it's a great feeling."

Earlier on this road trip in Toronto, Almonte socked a 426-foot home run. He now has the Royals' two longest home runs this season.

"Been feeling better every game, every at-bat," Almonte said. "I'm getting more confident, seeing the ball better, feel like I stay more focused in the approach that I take to the plate every at-bat."

Whit Merrifield had homered earlier in the inning.

Almonte's homer came during the Royals' promotional Sonic Slam inning, and contestant Jadah Bradley of Eugene, Mo., won $25,000 for the grand slam.

"I hope she enjoys it," Almonte said, smiling.

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

Kansas City Royals, Abraham Almonte

Buchholz gets win in debut for Triple-A Omaha

MLB.com

DETROIT -- Veteran right-hander Clay Buchholz was promoted from Double-A Northwest Arkansas to Triple-A Omaha on Saturday, and then went out and threw 6 1/3 strong innings in his debut with Omaha against Nashville on Sunday.

Buchholz earned the win, giving up five hits and one run while walking one and striking out three. He threw 84 pitches, 54 for strikes.

View Full Game Coverage

DETROIT -- Veteran right-hander Clay Buchholz was promoted from Double-A Northwest Arkansas to Triple-A Omaha on Saturday, and then went out and threw 6 1/3 strong innings in his debut with Omaha against Nashville on Sunday.

Buchholz earned the win, giving up five hits and one run while walking one and striking out three. He threw 84 pitches, 54 for strikes.

View Full Game Coverage

Buchholz, 33, signed as a non-roster free agent in March, threw 4 2/3 shutout innings in his only start for Northwest Arkansas earlier in the week.

Buchholz could be an option for the Royals to start one of the games of a doubleheader Saturday against the White Sox. He has a May 1 opt-out date.

The Royals would have to clear space on the 40-man roster to make room for Buchholz, who has impressed Royals officials after missing almost all of 2017 because of forearm surgery.

Gallagher remembers Manaea
Royals catcher Cam Gallagher was watching television in his hotel room Saturday night when he began getting alerts on his cell phone that his former batterymate, former Royals farmhand Sean Manaea, was pitching a no-hitter for Oakland.

Gallagher, who caught Manaea at Class A Advanced Wilmington in 2014-15, immediately switched channels to watch Manaea finish the no-hitter against Boston.

"I was watching and I was like, 'No way,'" Gallagher said. "I could feel his nerves going through him right there, definitely something I've never experienced, but I was feeling for him. I was glad that he ended up getting it done.

"I was nervous just watching for him, so I don't imagine what he was feeling. But really happy for him. It was awesome.

"Back in A-ball, he would throw fastballs up in the zone right by guys, and they would swing underneath it. He's one of those guys you talk about. His delivery is so slow, but once it comes out of his hand it's on you right there. It gets on you quick. It was definitely overpowering in A-ball. It was really good."

Royals celebrate Earth Day
As the country celebrated Earth Day on Sunday, the Royals, too, have become very environmentally conscious.

The Royals just installed LED Field Lighting at Kauffman Stadium -- LED lighting is energy efficient and will have a life span of 30 years.

The Royals also recycled 15.49 tons of glass last season, almost doubling their 2016 total. And they are one of nine teams that utilize solar power at Kauffman Stadium.

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

Kansas City Royals, Clay Buchholz

Catching up with Royals Hall of Famer Leonard

MLB.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Dennis Leonard, a Royals Hall of Famer, was one of the greatest pitchers in club history.

Leonard threw more than 200 innings in seven seasons with the Royals and topped 290 innings twice. He is the Royals' all-time leader in complete games with 103 and in shutouts with 23. He is second in wins with 144.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Dennis Leonard, a Royals Hall of Famer, was one of the greatest pitchers in club history.

Leonard threw more than 200 innings in seven seasons with the Royals and topped 290 innings twice. He is the Royals' all-time leader in complete games with 103 and in shutouts with 23. He is second in wins with 144.

Leonard, 66, has brought his experience and wisdom to Royals camp as a guest instructor for 11 years now.

Royals Hall of Fame

MLB.com caught up with Leonard as he surveyed the team's Minor Leaguers:

Q: What makes it so special to be with these young Royals?

Leonard: "The amazing thing is when (general manager) Dayton Moore came on, he said that there's a lot of kids down here who have no idea who the guys are in the pictures on the wall (in the clubhouse). They go by them every day and have no idea. So credit Dayton to construct a program to get some of the guys from the past down here. I know John (Mayberry) and Willie (Wilson) really appreciate it, too. Just to put that uniform on again is pretty special. Hopefully (Moore) stays here for a long time."

Q: Obviously, you don't want to interfere with what the coaches are teaching down here, but what kind of advice do you give the kids?

Leonard: "I think some of the (young) pitchers think some questions are stupid, but they're not. I'll bring some of the old-school thought because I don't know the new-school thought. But I would never go in front of a coach and tell a kid 'Try this.' You don't want to step on any toes."

Q: Watching the home-run derby that was the World Series last fall, was that alarming for you as a former pitcher?

Leonard: "I gave up my share but not that many. I know when I was playing, when pitchers got too dominant, they lowered the mound or shrank the strike zone. All because they thought people didn't want to see a 1-0 game. But to me, a 1-0 game is the most exciting. I think they got it going now with more offense (in baseball) like football and basketball. It's what they want."

Q: Is it a different game today with all the home runs and strikeouts?

Leonard: "Definitely. But as a pitcher it is still the same. The thing I see that's different is pitching inside. You don't see a lot of pitching inside anymore. You see now that a guy hits a home run and the next guy comes up and he's comfortable. Now the way they're trying to police the game, if one guy hits a guy, they warn both benches, which I think is wrong. If a pitcher hits a guy, warn him. Then if the other pitcher responds, warn him. But you can't take that out of a pitcher's hand."

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

Kansas City Royals

Duffy, KC bullpen labor through loss to Tigers

Yost: Pitching on 3 days' rest 'absolutely unrelated' to starter's performance
MLB.com

DETROIT -- For the first time in his Major League career, Royals left-hander Danny Duffy made a start on only three days' rest after his previous start. And it did not go especially well.

Duffy, who threw six scoreless innings in Toronto on Tuesday, came back Saturday and labored through 4 2/3 innings, giving up six runs as the Royals fell, 12-4, to the Tigers at Comerica Park.

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DETROIT -- For the first time in his Major League career, Royals left-hander Danny Duffy made a start on only three days' rest after his previous start. And it did not go especially well.

Duffy, who threw six scoreless innings in Toronto on Tuesday, came back Saturday and labored through 4 2/3 innings, giving up six runs as the Royals fell, 12-4, to the Tigers at Comerica Park.

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Duffy gave up 10 hits, walked two and struck out two. He left trailing only 4-3 with two runners on and two out.

"I felt better today than I normally do," Duffy said. "Obviously it took a lot more preparation to get to this point. I felt like I had good stuff -- had a really good fastball and threw some good sliders.

"I signed up for this three days' rest stuff. It's what I wanted to do. I wanted to lead. It just didn't turn out the way I wanted it to."

Duda throws with glove, Duffy catches with hand

Video: KC@DET: Duda flips, Duffy barehands to nab Candelario

Royals manager Ned Yost also dismissed the notion that the short rest affected Duffy.

"Absolutely unrelated," Yost said. "He felt great. He went 100 pitches. There's days where -- pitchers struggle to have their curveballs some days or command of their fastballs some days. Some days, it's command of their changeup. He just couldn't get a feel for his changeup. It's got nothing to do with the rest."

But Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera said Detroit's lineup took Duffy's short rest into account: "That's why I think we did a very good job today taking some pitches, trying to go deep in the count and make him throw a mistake. You have to make sure to hit it."

Video: KC@DET: Yost on Danny Duffy's struggles

The Royals' struggling bullpen had issues again, as rookie left-hander Tim Hill walked in two runs. And later, right-hander Blaine Boyer gave up one run, Justin Grimm allowed three more to score in the seventh and Burch Smith surrendered two runs in the eighth after loading the bases with no outs.

Abraham Almonte had three hits and scored two runs for the Royals, who lost for the 10th time in 11 games.

Video: KC@DET: McCarthy leaves the bases full in the 5th

"We're four and whatever," Duffy said. "We haven't played 20 games and we're 10 games under .500. It's just not a good start for us. You can be discouraged or frustrated, but the bottom line is we're going to have to be the ones to pull ourselves out of this."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Trailing 6-3, the Royals had a great chance to sneak back in it when Almonte singled and Alcides Escobar doubled to open the sixth. But Drew Butera popped out, and after an RBI groundout by Jon Jay, Whit Merrifield flied out to short right field.

"We got 11 hits," Yost said. "It's like [hitting coach] Terry [Bradshaw] keeps preaching to them -- we're getting guys on. We're not driving guys in, but we're getting guys on. Keep getting on until we start driving guys in. I mean, four runs for us has always been a tell-tale number for our team in the past. We just couldn't hold the opposition past four."

Video: KC@DET: Jay grounds out to third, Almonte scores

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Royals left fielder Jay robbed Leonys Martin of a hit in the bottom of the fourth with an excellent running catch near the line. Statcast™ determined it was a four-star catch -- Jay needed to cover 39 feet in 3.1 seconds to make the play for a 38-percent catch probability.

Video: KC@DET: Jay robs Martin with difficult running catch

HE SAID IT
"Extremely frustrated. This isn't fun. We got to do better." -- Duffy, on the Royals' 4-15 start

UP NEXT
Left-hander Eric Skoglund (0-2, 9.31 ERA) takes the mound for the Royals in the series finale in Detroit on Sunday at 12:10 p.m. CT. Skoglund gave up five runs and eight hits over five innings in his last start Tuesday, an 11-3 loss in Toronto. In his one previous start against the Tigers, Skoglund allowed two hits over 6 1/3 shutout innings in a 1-0 win last season in his Major League debut. The Tigers will counter with left-hander Francisco Liriano.

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

Kansas City Royals, Danny Duffy

Lucas Duda threw the ball with his glove and Danny Duffy caught it with his hand

In a world full of unpredictability, we cling to the things we know for sure. Anyone who's ever played catch in the backyard knows one of them: You throw a baseball with your hand and catch it in your glove.

Now we can't even cling to that basic order of things. During Saturday afternoon's game against the Tigers, the Royals turned that constant sequence on its head. On a ground ball from Jeimer Candelario, first baseman Lucas Duda tossed the ball to pitcher Danny Duffy with his glove, and Duffy caught it with his bare hand:

Royals break through in G2 with rally in 9th

Almonte's tying single, error lead to DH split with Tigers
MLB.com

DETROIT -- That good fortune the Royals have been begging for finally showed up in the nightcap of a doubleheader with the Tigers on Friday night.

Trailing by one run entering the ninth, the Royals got a bloop RBI single by Abraham Almonte to tie it, then took the lead when Tigers first baseman Niko Goodrum botched a routine grounder by Jon Jay, and overthrew the pitcher covering the bag, allowing Alcides Escobar to score in a 3-2 win that snapped a nine-game losing streak. JaCoby Jones hit a walk-off homer in Game 1 to hand Kansas City a 3-2 loss in 10 innings.

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DETROIT -- That good fortune the Royals have been begging for finally showed up in the nightcap of a doubleheader with the Tigers on Friday night.

Trailing by one run entering the ninth, the Royals got a bloop RBI single by Abraham Almonte to tie it, then took the lead when Tigers first baseman Niko Goodrum botched a routine grounder by Jon Jay, and overthrew the pitcher covering the bag, allowing Alcides Escobar to score in a 3-2 win that snapped a nine-game losing streak. JaCoby Jones hit a walk-off homer in Game 1 to hand Kansas City a 3-2 loss in 10 innings.

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Ryan Goins and Escobar singled with one out before Almonte fought off several pitches by Tigers closer Shane Greene before sending a soft flare into right for a single. Goins made a terrific read, going almost on contact, and scored easily.

"He threw me a lot of sliders," Almonte said. "First ones I didn't recognize very good. Then, I had a chance to finally see it. It's a good feeling. We've been working together and looking for a win. It's good."

"The thing that impresses me is that as much as we've been struggling, they keep battling," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We're trying to get something to happen. Almonte fought off some good pitches and got it in play."

Was it time for some good fortune?

"It all kind of evens out," Yost said. "Except we haven't been getting our fair share of bloopers lately."

Royals starter Jakob Junis went eight strong innings and gave up four hits and two runs while striking out four. Kelvin Herrera worked the ninth and recorded his third save.

Video: KC@DET: Herrera retires Hicks to record third save

"This was huge," Junis said. "After the first game, losing like that, and [then] winning like this the second game ... we needed it. We needed it really bad."

Before their good fortune in the ninth, the Royals encountered some more back luck in the seventh in a 1-1 tie. Escobar led off with a walk, and moved to second on a wild pitch. Drew Butera moved Escobar to third with some solid situational hitting, lofting a flyout to deep right-center. But with the infield in, Jay struck out, swinging at three pitches out of the zone. Whit Merrifield then popped out.

"That had been kind of the difference in the game," Yost said. "They had been putting the ball in play with runners in scoring position and we hadn't."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Merrifield tied the score at 1 with two out in the fifth when he launched his second home run of the season. The ball traveled a projected 377 feet with an exit velocity of 101 mph, according to Statcast™.

Video: KC@DET: Merrifield cracks a solo homer to left field

UP NEXT
Left-hander Danny Duffy (0-2, 3.86 ERA) will take the mound at 12:10 p.m. CT on Saturday as he opposes Tigers righty Mike Fiers at Comerica Park. Duffy will be working on three days' rest instead of four. He threw six shutout innings and gave up two hits with eight strikeouts on Tuesday against the Blue Jays.

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

Kansas City Royals, Abraham Almonte, Alcides Escobar, Jakob Junis, Whit Merrifield