KANSAS CITY -- Residents of Joplin, Mo., who were affected by the tornado that ravaged the city recently will get a visit from members of the Royals organization on Monday.
Former Royals Willie Aikens, Brian McRae and Royals Director of Broadcast Services Fred White will be among those representing the Royals. Along with representatives from the club's Double-A affiliate, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the group will serve lunch to Joplin residents and aid volunteers.
Additionally, Royals Charities donated $25,000 to the relief effort and Royals fans contributed more than $18,000 to the American Red Cross during collections held at Kauffman Stadium earlier in the homestand.
Royals save runs with spot-on throws
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals may have given up five runs in Friday night's 5-2 loss to the Twins, but their defense may have saved a few more with some spot-on relay throws.
Minnesota's Luke Hughes came up to bat with two out in the third inning. Danny Valencia stood at third and Ben Revere at first. Royals pitcher Danny Duffy had Revere picked off heading for second. First baseman Eric Hosmer threw to shortstop Alcides Escobar, who saw Valencia attempt to go home and threw him out at the plate. Catcher Brayan Pena held on for the third out and Hughes never got a chance to get a big hit.
Denard Span was later thrown out at the plate trying to turn a triple into an inside-the-park home run, with Pena getting relay throws from Alex Gordon and Escobar.
"[The Twins] got a hold of a couple; they could have had even more," Duffy said. "Gordo, Esco and Pena, holding onto that throw, that was a great play."
The successful plays at the plate come less than a week after the Royals lost a game in the ninth inning to the Rangers on an unsuccessful tag attempt by Pena -- and in the wake of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey's season-ending injury after a collision at home. Following the Texas game, Pena admitted that he could have done a better job blocking the plate, but manager Ned Yost chalked it up to a simple mistake.
"That's the play he's been making all year long -- he's made three, four, five of those plays," Yost said of Pena after Friday's game. "He just got a little disoriented in terms of his positioning in Texas. It's just a fluke."
Duffy acknowledges that he needs to relax
KANSAS CITY -- If there is one lesson for Royals rookie starter Danny Duffy to learn, it is this: Calm down.
In last night's pitching matchup -- a 5-2 loss to the Twins -- between Duffy, who has four career starts, and Minnesota's Carl Pavano, who won his 100th game, it was clear who had the experience.
Duffy was overthrowing early and did not get settled in until the fourth inning. By that time he had already thrown 69 pitches through three innings. Yost said the young left-hander needs to start pitching at "94 percent" in order to make better pitches and pitch deeper into games.
And a big part of that is mental, which comes with time.
"The one thing that you can't work on is controlling your emotions," Yost said. "We can tell you until we're blue in the face that you've got to control your emotions.
"But it's a feeling that you develop. It's a confidence that you develop and an understanding that you know when you get on the mound, that you don't have to throw every pitch 110 percent and remain effective."
Duffy took the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks. The 22-year-old agrees that he needs to stay calmer at the start of games.
"I'd love to be able to do that too," he said. "We're working on it, we're getting there. It's just, I'm way too excited to start the game, I'm way too amped up."
Outfield wall playing tricks on manager, players
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals have a winning record (19-17) at Kauffman Stadium, but with no help from a couple of freak plays involving the outfield wall.
In Friday night's 5-2 loss to the Twins, it seemed as if Eric Hosmer had a two-run homer when his drive disappeared over the left-center field wall in the third inning. Hosmer toured the bases, but wait a minute. In actuality, the ball was resting on top of the wall behind the padding, but had not cleared the short wire fence that it must cross to be a homer.
No argument from Royals manager Ned Yost, who said: "I thought I saw a fan reach over the railing and pick it up. So I went out and asked (third-base umpire) Mike Winters what he saw. He said, 'I saw the ball lodge and a fan reached over and picked it up.' I said, 'That's what I saw, too, I think.'"
Winters, who is also the crew chief, decided to check the tape and the umpires adjourned to the video cave. That's exactly what happened and, according to Rule 6.09 (f), "Any fair ball which . . . sticks in a fence or scoreboard . . . the runners shall be entitled to two bases." So Hosmer got a rulebook double and Melky Cabrera, who had been at first base, had to stop at third. Even without a homer, had the ball remained in play Cabrera surely would have scored on the two-out hit.
Another against-the-odds play occurred on May 4 when Mike Aviles' drive into left-center field became lodged under the padding along the warning track. While Aviles was following Alcides Escobar all the way around the bases, Orioles center field Adam Jones threw up his hands.
Sure enough, there would be no inside-the-park homer, no two runs. With the ball stuck, the umpires called a double and moved Escobar back to third. Escobar eventually scored but Aviles was stranded, and that made a big difference as the Royals lost, 3-2.
Adam Holt is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.