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Royals' playoff appearance years in the making for some fans -9/30/2014, 10:34 AM

Chiefs offense gets rolling in rout -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

California has four teams in the playoffs for the first time -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

TMP golf finishes third at Hoisington meet -9/30/2014, 10:35 AM

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Big 12 coaches react to firing -9/30/2014, 10:21 AM

HHS volleyball goes 2-3 in Newton -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

HHS tennis places third at Garden City Invitational -9/29/2014, 4:16 PM

Tiger tennis finishes fall season 5-2 -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

MNF for Chiefs -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

Royals' starters rest in win -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

KU shows Weis the door -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

Jayhawks take the conservative route in their loss to Texas -9/28/2014, 9:43 AM

FHSU soccer cruises past SW Baptist -9/28/2014, 7:03 PM

Victoria takes advantage for close win at Ness -9/28/2014, 1:14 AM

Plainville grabs first win, beats TMP -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Area prep football roundup: Otis-Bison, Kinsley set record -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Wildcats roll -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Delton, HHS run past Garden City -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's soccer picks up 1-0 win at Southern -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's XC wins at Emporia State -9/27/2014, 7:12 PM

Kansas City clinches first playoff berth since 1985 -9/27/2014, 7:02 PM

Tigers take down No. 8 Pitt State -9/27/2014, 6:53 PM

Kansas linebacker Jake Love lives on instincts -9/26/2014, 11:06 AM

Like old times, Kansas State takes pride in stuffing the run -9/26/2014, 10:57 AM

FHSU women fall 2-1 -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Big win for Tiger soccer -9/26/2014, 10:46 AM

Tough test for Tiger football -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Hays High, TMP move to 4A -9/26/2014, 10:24 AM

One more win and Royals are in -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS XC second at McPherson meet -9/26/2014, 10:25 AM

Indian soccer snaps skid -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS golf clinches share of WAC title -9/26/2014, 10:48 AM

Monarchs, Cardinals seek first win -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Royals drop game at Cleveland -9/25/2014, 10:26 AM

UTEP football coach Sean Kugler hopes to build a program that can emulate Kansas State -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Indians hit the road -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Giants, Redskins trying to avoid steeper climb in East -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

KVA prep volleybal rankings, Sept. 24 -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

HHS soccer falls at Great Bend -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

HHS takes third at Salina South Invitational -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

No. 8 Washburn too much for Tigers -9/24/2014, 10:28 AM

Tiger defense continues to get stronger -9/24/2014, 10:29 AM

Two wins for TMP volleyball -9/24/2014, 10:27 AM

TMP soccer rolls to win -9/24/2014, 10:29 AM

Ventura dominates Indians as Royals push for postseason -9/24/2014, 10:28 AM

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SPOTLIGHT
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Royals fall to Twins

Published on -8/17/2014, 11:10 AM

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By Andy McCullough
McClatchy-Tribune
Ned Yost waved his hands in the air, a gesture that both batted aside a question and acknowledged the veracity of its premise. As he sat inside the visiting manager's office at Target Field, shortly after the Royals' 4-1 loss to Minnesota, he pondered how differently he would have managed had his two best relievers been available.
"Of course," he said. "Yes. I mean that's -- of course you would."
Of course, Yost would not have left Yordano Ventura to wilt in the seventh inning. Of course, he would have been more proactive in the deployment of his relievers. Of course, Yost would have turned to Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland, the late-game trio that has buoyed the Royals this season.
But the attrition of a playoff chase limited Yost's options.
He insisted on resting both Davis and Holland. He tabbed Herrera for the ninth, with veteran Jason Frasor slated as the temporary set-up man. As the seventh inning crumbled, Yost warmed up Aaron Crow and Francisley Bueno, but he placed his faith in Ventura, the 23-year-old rookie.
"Look, you've got to deal with this stuff," Yost said. "That's the fun of a pennant race. You've got to maneuver. You've got to be able to work through these types of issues. Because you're not going to have perfect conditions every single day. That's the adjustment you have to make."
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak. The Royals, 67-55, fell for just the second time in 13 games. A victory by the Tigers cut Kansas City's lead in the American League Central back to a half-game.
A disappearance by the offense heightened the scrutiny of Yost's maneuvers. Twins starter Phil Hughes buzzed through the Royals lineup for 7 1/3 innings. The lone Kansas City run scored on a Minnesota error. It was still enough to provide the team with a lead heading into the fateful seventh.
Ventura had yielded one hit -- and five walks -- when the inning began. Kurt Suzuki smacked a leadoff single. Brian Parmalee surprised the Royals with a bunt single, which Mike Moustakas could not nab with his bare hand. After another bunt, both runners were in scoring position.
Ventura shattered the bat of leadoff man Danny Santana. A grounder trickled to first base, and Billy Butler fired home. Salvador Perez whirled to tag Suzuki, but fell short.
"Billy hesitated just enough where we could make the tag at the plate," Yost said.
He added, "The throw wasn't bad. It was just that hesitation, that split-second hesitation, that was the time that Sal needed to catch the ball and make the play."
Butler said he was not surprised Suzuki broke for home. He defended the quality of his peg.
"He made a good slide," Butler said. "That's all there is to it. The ball beat him there."
Either way, the game was tied. Here, Yost could have turned to his relief duo of Bueno and Crow. Bueno helped the team escape a similar jam on Friday. Crow, who gave up a solo homer to Suzuki in the eighth, has been utilized mostly as a right-handed specialist in recent weeks.
Yost opted to stick with Ventura.
"He's still got the stuff to get out of it," Yost said.
The deadlock lasted all of one pitch. Brian Dozier ripped an RBI double past Moustakas and pulled Minnesota ahead for the first time. Joe Mauer added a sacrifice fly that completed the scoring in the inning.
"All throughout the game, he tried to make good pitches," said Bruce Chen, who translates for Ventura. "In that situation, in the seventh inning, he tried to do everything he could to make good pitches. Some of the pitches came out for some hits."
When the day began, Yost understood the task facing him. Davis had pitched in four games in six days. Holland looked rickety as he surrendered two runs Friday. Yost determined that each man required rest.
Inside his office before the game, he concocted a scenario to escape the evening with a victory. "If Ventura can go seven tonight ... " he said, then began ticking off the names of his available middle relievers.
An offensive explosion would have made life easier. Instead, the Royals fell victim to six strikeouts by Hughes. Cast off by the Yankees, Hughes appears refreshed as a Twin.
After breezing through three innings, his 28th pitch of the night was a 92-mph fastball. Aoki smashed it into right for a double to start the fourth. After a strikeout by Omar Infante, Aoki produced a run with his legs.
He broke for third on an inside fastball to Perez. Suzuki, the Twins catcher, uncorked an unsightly throw, closer to the shortstop than the third baseman. The ball landed in left field, and Aoki scurried home.
Aoki appeared bewildered, at first, by the location of the ball. When he heard third-base coach Mike Jirschele shout "Go!" Aoki understood.
"The ball sailed where I wasn't looking," Aoki said through his interpreter, Kosuke Inaji.
The lineup fell flat from there. The team did not advance a runner past second base in the final five innings.
In the aftermath of the seventh-inning collapse, Yost lamented his lack of options. But he acknowledged this is the landscape facing the club during the upcoming weeks.
"You can't throw these guys every day," Yost said. "I wish I could. But you can't. That's the tough part of my job. I've got to be able to judge when I can do it, and when I can't. Because if I run these guys into the ground, we're in trouble."
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