Royals

Mike Moustakas ends zero-for-21 start with ninth-inning single

Third baseman Mike Moustakas retreated back to first base in the ninth inning on Tuesday night and pretended to wipe his brow.

Whew, indeed.

Moustakas ended a zero-for-21 streak before a base hit, which slipped past second baseman Ben Zobrist.

“Getting on base right there, leading off the inning, it’s a big at-bat,” Moustakas said. “I’m just trying to do what I can to get on there. I was able to sneak it through Zobrist.”

Manager Ned Yost thinks it’s the start of something big for Moose.

“Moose, you can tell, he’s getting ready to take off,” manager Ned Yost said. “You watch his batting practices, and they’re unbelievable. Just unbelievable. When you’re oh for 20, that first hit takes a lot of weight off your shoulders.”

Mariot fulfilling destiny

Royals relief pitcher Michael Mariot’s middle name is Ryan, but it’s a wonder he’s not named Kirk Gibson Mariot or Orel Hershiser

Mariot.

“The last time the Dodgers won the World Series was Oct. 20, 1988, and I actually was born in Los Angeles within an hour of them winning the World Series,” Mariot said. “My mom always told me I was destined to play baseball.”

Mom was right, and Mariot is now with the Royals, who recalled him Monday from Class AAA to help in the bullpen.

Mariot was a big reason why the Storm Chasers won the 2013 Pacific Coast League title as he didn’t allow an earned run in 21 innings over his last 14 appearances.

He was rated as the Royals’ No. 15 prospect by Baseball America, which noted that Mariot’s fastball jumped from the 89-to-93-mph range early last season to 98 by September.

“I don’t really have an explanation for it,” Mariot said with a shrug. “Maybe it was just throwing one or two innings a time and I’m just coming out there and trying to throw as hard as I can.”

Although Mariot dialed it up, his catcher at Omaha said there’s more to Mariot than a fastball.

“He’s an aggressive pitcher, will come right at you,” said Brett Hayes, who is now with the Royals. “He’s got a good curveball, good change-up. His He’s best secondary pitch next to his fastball would have to be his slider.

“He’ll challenge you, but he knows how to pitch, he’s not just throwing it up there somewhere close. He’s hitting spots and changing speeds. It’s why he’s here. He knows how to pitch.”

Perez’s eye

Catcher Salvador Perez, who walked a career-high 21 times last year in 138 games, received his seventh free pass of the season in Tuesday’s game.

“It’s an example of his hard work and effort on two-strike approach is exactly what it is,” Yost said before the game.

“Salvy could have had a bunch of walks last year but would swing at ball four a lot of times. He’s making a concerted effort, as all of our guys are, to really narrowing down their pitch selection with two strikes.”

TV game

Fox Sports Kansas City will broadcast the Royals’ rescheduled game in Detroit on June 19.

The game was rained out Thursday.

Etc.

• Bubba Starling, the former Gardner-Edgerton star, hit a three-run homer Tuesday night in Class A Wilmington’s 5-3 loss to Myrtle Beach.

• The Royals’ seven-game stretch without a home run is the longest stretch to open the season in team history.

• Yordano Ventura notched the Royals’ sixth quality start in seven games. The Royals had 92 a year ago.

• Jake Odorizzi, the Rays’ starter today, was part of the trade that sent Wil Myers to Tampa Bay and brought James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals.

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