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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

Monarchs move to 14-10 -9/30/2014, 10:30 AM

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

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

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

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

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

Click To View All


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SPOTLIGHT
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Royals rally for Friday win

Published on -8/16/2014, 5:11 PM

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By Andy McCullough

McClatchy-Tribune

The homecoming ended with a three-child welcoming committee. A chorus of "Daddy!" rang as Josh Willingham opened the door of the visitors' clubhouse at Target Field and welcomed his boys, ages 2, 4 and 7.

Willingham called this ballpark home for three years but never experienced a winning season. On Sunday, in his final game as a Twin, he batted fifth for a last-place team. A waiver claim saved him from another irrelevant summer, sent him to the Royals and placed him in contention for his first playoff berth in 11 big-league seasons.

Willingham returned five days later in a Kansas City uniform, serving as the primary actor in five-run, fourth-inning outburst in a 6-5 Royals victory. With the bases loaded in the fourth, Willingham erased a two-run deficit. He cleared the bases, drove in three runs and received a burst of puzzled applause from the fans here.

"I knew that was a big spot for us," Willingham said. "I was just happy to, this time, come through."

Alcides Escobar added a two-run triple soon after, and a crucial RBI single in the eighth. Still, with one swing, Willingham provided a reminder as to why the Royals had acquired him. He provides heft to a lineup lacking right-handed ballast. He could be the final piece for a club with October aspirations.

The pursuit gained ground on Friday, as the Royals pushed their division lead to 1.5 games to begin a three-city road trip. Even so, the discussion afterward focused on the ninth inning, when the Royals nearly gave back a three-run lead. Greg Holland, the Royals' stalwart closer, delivered a wobbly performance, allowing two runs in the ninth.

While the team won for the 11th time in 12 days, the performance of Holland was a tad troubling. Manager Ned Yost blamed himself for Holland's struggles. He said he has been using Holland too often, eight times already this month, and Holland is showing the strain.

"He's worn out," Yost said. "Poor thing. He's out there battling his (backside) off. His arm is a little bit slow. He's fighting command. He's a little bit tired."

Yost indicated the remedy was a day off. After that, he expected Holland to bounce back.

It was a night of bullpen maneuvering for Yost.

After Willingham ignited the fourth-inning battering, Danny Duffy, 8-10, did not complete the sixth inning. Yost pulled him after 79 pitches in 5.1 innings. Aaron Crow and Francisley Bueno finished the sixth. From there, the team's late-game trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Holland handled the proceedings.

The previous seven days at Kauffman Stadium were ideal. The front office persuaded owner David Glass to pick up the remaining on $1.836 million on Willingham's three-year, $21 million deal with Minnesota.

The team swept San Francisco and bested Oakland three times in four games. They clambered over the Tigers in the American League Central standings.

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