On Friday night, the Kansas City Royals (44-43) returned from the All-Star break to host the Texas Rangers (43-45), and after a slow start, Kansas City has turned its season around, sitting just three games out of first place in the American League Central, heading into Friday’s games.
“We are ready to get back here, ready to start playing some games and get back on a roll,” Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas said. “Ready to make this late push into the postseason, where we belong.
“We have the team to do it, we got the guys to do it, we just need to do it. We just got to go out there and play ball.”
Earlier this week, Moustakas competed in the All-Star Home Run Derby for the first time in his career and played in his second All-Star Game.
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“It was awesome,” Moustakas said. “I had a great time with the whole All-Star Game and the whole experience, getting to hang out with all the All-Stars and phenomenal baseball players. It was a lot of fun, and I was definitely happy I got to experience it again.”
Moustakas, who was the fourth overall seed in the derby, lost in the first round to Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano 11-10. After Moustakas’ exit, he watched Yankees’ rookie Aaron Judge put on a show, belting 47 home runs to take home the trophy.
“It’s definitely tiring and the adrenaline is flowing, but it was a lot of fun and I had a great time and it was an awesome experience,” Moustakas said.
“Getting to watch some of those guys hit some balls, it was pretty cool. What those guys did was pretty cool to watch.”
After entering the All-Star Game in the bottom of the 7th inning, Moustakas went 0 for 2 against former Royals’ relievers Greg Holland and Wade Davis.
“Facing Greg and Wade was pretty cool,” Moustakas said. “The whole experience was a highlight.”
Royals pitcher Jason Vargas, who made his first All-Star Game, pitched the bottom of the fourth inning and gave up zero runs.
“Individually, I don’t know if it gets that much better for me,” Vargas said. “Pitching in the game was the ultimate rush.”
Royals catcher Salvador Perez made his fifth consecutive All-Star appearance. In his five games, the American League owns a 5-0 record.