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Ellis to play for Zone title -7/24/2014, 1:26 PM

2014 Kansas Shrine Bowl rosters -7/24/2014, 1:29 PM

Jayhawk League standings, July 24 -7/24/2014, 10:34 AM

Jamaal Charles agrees to contract extension -7/24/2014, 10:38 AM

Ubelaker looks to make impact on Shrine Bowl -7/24/2014, 10:51 AM

Snyder hopes season carries over -7/24/2014, 10:33 AM

Herman, Hecker, Kaup advance at Kansas Am -7/24/2014, 10:13 AM

Larks get non-league win -7/23/2014, 1:29 PM

Golfer cards ace in Ellis -7/23/2014, 9:57 AM

Fisher hopes bigger is better -7/23/2014, 9:47 AM

Royals grab win in Chicago -7/23/2014, 10:42 AM

Overachievers set tone for KSU football -7/23/2014, 10:42 AM

Chiefs have had discussions with Charles -7/23/2014, 10:44 AM

Hays Eagles headed back to state -7/23/2014, 10:43 AM

Tuesday's Larks game called off -7/22/2014, 4:49 PM

K-18 state bracket, July 25 to 29 -7/22/2014, 10:46 AM

Royals' offense silenced again in loss to Chicago -7/22/2014, 10:25 AM

Monarchs' season comes to an end -7/22/2014, 10:19 AM

Larks win sixth straight -7/22/2014, 10:24 AM

No bold predictions from Charlie Weis at Big 12 Media Days -7/22/2014, 10:19 AM

Eagles rally for Zone win -7/22/2014, 10:25 AM

'One true champion' gets a workout in Big 12 -7/22/2014, 10:09 AM

K-State clarifies Klein's role -7/22/2014, 10:26 AM

Browns rookie Manziel leads in jerseys sold -7/22/2014, 10:09 AM

Royals get swept in Boston -7/21/2014, 10:10 AM

McIlroy claims Open title -7/21/2014, 10:10 AM

Monarchs fall to Larned in Zone tourney -7/21/2014, 10:10 AM

Larks wrap up second place -7/21/2014, 10:10 AM

Royals fall to Red Sox -7/20/2014, 9:44 AM

Plainville's Krob tops 11-under field -7/20/2014, 6:54 PM

Goodland's Ihrig wins Match Play crown -7/20/2014, 6:54 PM

Monarchs, Russell in Larned Zone -7/20/2014, 6:54 PM

Alex Smith hopes future is with Kansas City Chiefs -7/20/2014, 6:44 PM

Butler wants to stay in K.C. -7/20/2014, 6:44 PM

Larks beat Twins, alone in second place -7/18/2014, 9:31 AM

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Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

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Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

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St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

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Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
Streak snapped for Royals

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Streak snapped for Royals

Published on -4/21/2014, 10:07 AM

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By Andy McCullough

McClatchy-Tribune

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Yordano Ventura tucked his chin to his chest as he left the diamond. He looked up to acknowledge only a smattering of polite, Easter Sunday applause, a far cry from the roar that greeted him in his last appearance at Kauffman Stadium.

He is still only 22, and on Sunday, fresh off his first big-league victory last week, he reminded observers of that reality. Ventura floundered for four innings in an 8-3 loss to Minnesota. The Royals, 9-8, saw their five-game winning streak snapped, and their budding young right-hander bruised.

The outing was far from a disaster. Ventura, 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA, gave up only four runs. He struck out six batters. His star did not dim, despite an afternoon when he could not repeat his delivery, could not pepper the Twins with the arsenal that tantalizes so many in this organization.

"He needs to learn to make adjustments when that happens," manager Ned Yost said. "I've been saying this from day one: There's going to be days when he struggles with his command."

On Sunday he displayed all the hallmarks of youth and inexperience. In his last outing, Ventura survived against the cellar-dwelling Astros despite a lackluster curveball. He was less fortunate Sunday.

His command was erratic at best, nonexistent at worse. In his first three games, Ventura walked three batters. He issued four walks on Sunday. The Twins demonstrated little fear in the face of his velocity and raked six hits off him.

The bullpen was not much sharper behind him. Louis Coleman served up a solo home run. Making his big-league debut, Justin Marks yielded three runs in two innings. By the time the offense awoke from its Sunday afternoon slumber, it was too late. Alcides Escobar chased Twins starter Phil Hughes in the seventh with a two-run home run -- which only cut the deficit to five.

"Today was a tough game," designated hitter Billy Butler said. "It was just one of those games."

The Twins milked Ventura for 34 pitches in the first. Brian Dozier opened with a single, and Joe Mauer followed with a walk.

From behind the plate, catcher Salvador Perez kept signaling Ventura to slow down.

The message did not take, at least not against third baseman Trevor Plouffe. Ventura grooved a 98-mph fastball at Plouffe's waist. He ripped a two-run double. Ventura did not allow another run that inning, but his pitch count escalated thanks to two strikeouts and a walk.

"He said he tried to concentrate," said pitcher Bruce Chen, who translated for Ventura. "He made adjustments throughout the game. But not every day he's going to have the good days."

Ventura smoothed out during the next two innings. But his skittishness cost the Royals in the fourth. With two outs, Minnesota outfielder Aaron Hicks stood at first base. Ventura skipped an errant pickoff throw past Eric Hosmer. Hicks took second base. When Ventura bounced a curveball for a wild pitch, Hicks moved to third and scored on a subsequent single.

In his last outing, Ventura also allowed a run to score thanks to a misguided pickoff attempt. Team officials hope he ceases this habit, which is sometimes considered a nervous tic adopted by young pitchers. Hosmer framed it as a teaching moment.

"Honestly, dude, you throw one away, let a guy get to third, give up a run? That's how you learn from it," Hosmer said. "He should never do that again, you know what I mean? He'll learn."

Plouffe stepped in against Ventura at the beginning of the fifth. Once again, Ventura fed him a belt-high fastball. Once again, Plouffe tattooed it. His triple boomed off the Budweiser sign in center field. Chris Colabello floated an RBI single into center, and Ventura was done.

In the bottom of the inning, the Royals finally began to connect against Hughes. A rally sprouted after a double and two singles. But it ended when Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier sprawled to snare a hard-hit grounder by Perez and start a double play.

"There's no telling what would have happened if that ball got through right there," Yost said.

But Dozier made the play. Yost opted to protect his more precious relievers. After Coleman and Marks struggled, the victory drifted out of reach.

"We won the series," Butler said. "We wanted the sweep -- but it didn't happen."

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