KANSAS CITY -- Even though Royals first baseman Kila Ka'aihue has struggled at-bat, manager Ned Yost sees reason for optimism.
"He's starting to swing the bat better," Yost said. "He's staying back, using his hands better, swinging better."
Even so, Ka'aihue and his .205 average did not appear for the Royals on Tuesday in their 6-5 win over the Orioles.
"The last two or three games, he's taken some pretty good swings," Yost said, "but we've got [Mike] Aviles hot, [Wilson] Betemit hot and we've got a guy in [Jeff] Francis, who gets probably the least run support on our staff and we've got to score some runs for him and get a 'W' for him. We need to get the hot guys in without losing defense up the middle with [Chris] Getz, who's swinging a little better too after his little funk."
Yost had Betemit starting at first base for the first time this season with Aviles at third and Getz at second. Betemit has played first base 63 times in his big league career including four starts at the position last year for the Royals and 39 overall.
"That's actually probably his best position," Yost said.
It's been a good position for Betemit's teams, too. When he's appeared at first base over the years, his team has has a 44-19 record.
Ka'aihue, in his last seven games, hit .320 (8-for-25). He had two doubles and one of his two homers this season.
Francoeur's nose casualty of walk-off celebration
KANSAS CITY -- It was a back-breaker for Jeff Francoeur.
No, not the home run he hit to tie the score on Tuesday night or the sacrifice fly he hit to lift the Royals over the Orioles in the 10th inning, 6-5. Actually, it was the pounding in the back that he took from teammate Alex Gordon in the celebratory melee after the walk-off win.
"They've been waiting for Frenchy because they wanted to pound him, and they did. He pounds them when they do it," manager Ned Yost said. "These kids enjoy what they're doing. They've having fun, they're working hard, they're never quitting and it's fun to win a ballgame late."
Gordon, after scoring the winning run, made a bee line for Francoeur, who was in the first-base line.
"You see Frenchy and he's the first one to throw some blows," Gordon said. "He hit me in the nose one time, so it's payback. Once I touched home plate, I charged right at him and got him on the ground."
Francoeur endured the friendly beating from Gordon but also took a rap on his prominent nose, often fractured in high school football, from an unknown perpetrator.
"I got mine today. I beat up on people pretty good but I got mine tonight," Francoeur said. "I went to the fetal position. Gordo got behind me and hit me in the back and somebody hit me on the nose. I've got to find out who it was on the nose ... but it's a big one so it probably doesn't matter."
Gordon also took a hit on his nose after reaching first base in the 10th. A pick-off throw from Jason Berken hit his arm, ricocheted off his shoulder and bonked him in the beak hard enough that the trainer came out for a brief inspection. He stayed in the game, of course, to complete his tour of the bases.
Melky makes great grab in Royals' win
KANSAS CITY -- Melky Cabrera contributed more than a run-scoring double to Tuesday night's Royals victory. In the third inning, Cabrera raced from center field and dove to spear Robert Andino's line drive.
It came with an Orioles runner on base and gave Jeff Francis the second out of the inning.
"That was a great play -- that ball was an inch off the ground and his body was three feet off the ground when he caught it," manager Ned Yost said. "Defense has been key for us, it's been a big part of our success."
Dyson available, despite injured ankle
KANSAS CITY -- Royals Outfielder Jarrod Dyson appears to be recovered enough from his sprained left ankle to play in the Baltimore series.
"I think he could go in a 'Dysie situation.' I mean, I'd like to give him another day, but he could go," manager Ned Yost said before Tuesday night's game. "But he could be better by Wednesday or Thursday, hopefully."
A "Dysie situation" is generally a pinch-running assignment in the late innings. So far, Dyson has been used as a pinch-runner six times and has started five games, stealing seven bases to tie for seventh in the American League.
Dyson was injured on Sunday when he belatedly tried to stop his slide into second base and twisted the ankle. That occurred in the first inning against Minnesota and he was taken out of the game.
The ankle was slightly swollen and sore on Monday's open date but Dyson is ready to play.
"He's tough," Yost said. "A lot of people act tough -- he's tough. He's a tough little dude."
Equipment drive will help local school
KANSAS CITY -- The Baseball Tomorrow Fund got the Royals' annual Baseball Equipment Drive off to a flying start on Tuesday night by presenting a $5,000 grant to the Alta Vista Charter School's baseball program.
"To this point, we've given over $20 million to over 550 youth programs around the U.S. and internationally," said Meghan Chisholm, senior grant executive for the fund, which has been in existence since 1999.
This is the Royals' seventh year of participation and pitcher Bruce Chen is chairman of the drive.
Alta Vista, located in Kansas City, will be the beneficiary of this year's drive, which will be held on Friday and Saturday nights prior to the Royals-A's games at Kauffman Stadium. Donations of equipment by fans will be collected outside of the Diamond Club and Majestic Team Store on the plaza level from 30 minutes prior to the first pitch through the end of the second inning. Cash donations also will be accepted.
In addition, Royals Wives will be selling mystery bags, each containing a player-autographed baseball, for a $20 donation.
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund, a joint initiative of Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, promotes the growth of baseball throughout the world through funding youth programs, field improvements and equipment purchases.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.