05/01/2013 9:49 PM ET
After strong April, Yost maintains focus on each game
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- What a difference a year makes.
The Royals finished this April with a 14-10 record, just a half-game out of first place in the American League Central, compared to April 2012's 6-15 record, which put them 5 1/2 games behind.
"I feel good where we're at," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
But, in his view, it's way too early to be talking about being in contention.
"Just keep fighting. You can't be worried about contending right now. Worry about every day -- just winning every day," he said. "Your record is what it is. You can't do anything about it. But the game you have before you, you've got to be ready, do everything you can to win that game."
Yost will reach a point, however, when he might sneak a peek at the standings.
"I look at the first 40 games and kind of judge out every 40 games where we're standing and start taking a look at things," he said. "We kind of break it up in that fashion."
The Royals' 14-10 April record is the best since 2003's 16-7 (17-7 if you add the one game in March). That year, the Royals were in contention until early September.
How did the 1985 World Series champions fare in April? Those Royals were 11-8.
Yost credits pitchers with limiting KC's April skids
KANSAS CITY -- Right fielder Jeff Francoeur was ready with a stat when the Royals' first month ended.
"The most games we've lost in a row is two. When you can have that all year long, it's a huge help," Francoeur said.
Indeed, the Royals have not lost more than two games in a row so far this season. A year ago at this time, they could already look back on a 12-game skid.
This year they lost two straight against the White Sox to start the season and later dropped back-to-back games to Toronto and Cleveland at home.
"The biggest difference is pitching," manager Ned Yost said. "I'm not saying we're never going to have a three-game losing streak or a four-game losing streak, but starting pitching stops all that, and it minimizes that. With the starting pitchers we have, and we've said it all along, we don't anticipate any long losing streaks, because we've got somebody good every single day that's going to step on that mound and put an end to it."
So far, Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin Santana and James Shields have made outstanding starts to end the two-game slides.
Johnson starts at second; Getz rests with allergies
KANSAS CITY -- Elliot Johnson had a good series opener against Tampa Bay, and Chris Getz's allergies were acting up, so Johnson was back in the Royals' lineup at second base on Wednesday night.
Getz wasn't scheduled to play anyway on Tuesday, but wasn't feeling well during batting practice.
"I sent him in from BP. He didn't even hit yesterday. He feels much better today. They've got him on medicine, and he could've played today. But I just went with Elliot another day," Yost said before Wednesday night's game.
Other players, who Yost didn't name, were also bothered by allergies.
"It's just the time of year. With the pollen out and everything, it just kind of affects guys differently," Yost said. "But Getzy looks good today. He feels much better, and he could've played. But Elliot had a good game last night. Let him get back-to-back days, and Getzy'll probably be back in there tomorrow."
Johnson, a former Rays player, was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run in Tuesday night's 8-2 Royals win.
Royals reflect on Tuesday's offensive outburst
KANSAS CITY -- On Wednesday, the Royals were still talking about their sudden breakout against Rays starter Alex Cobb with two outs in the sixth inning on Tuesday night.
"People say I'm crazy when I say it just takes one swing, and it breaks open and it changes -- but it does," manager Ned Yost said. "Don't ask me what happened there. We couldn't do anything against Cobb and then, boom, base hit; boom, base hit; boom, home run ..."
Yost's "booms" -- like the Royals' hits in that inning -- just kept coming. Eric Hosmer's double off the left-field wall ignited the outburst and Mike Moustakas' two-run homer put the Royals ahead to stay in their 8-2 win.
"It's just something that happens. I don't know. That's baseball. You can't explain it, how a guy can be going and was borderline dominating us and then, boom! I don't know, I can't explain it," Yost said.
"You've got James Shields on the mound, and you're down two. You want to get some runs. But, as a manager, you can get crazy. The whole time, I just kept telling myself: Be patient, we'll peck away. Stay patient, it'll happen."
And it did.
Along those lines, it should be noted that the Royals, entering Wednesday night's game, had the best two-out offense in the Major Leagues with a .291 (78-for-268) average after two were down, scoring 42 runs.
Santana, Gordon honored by Kansas City media
KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Ervin Santana, who posted a 3-1 record and 2.00 ERA in five starts, was voted the Royals Pitcher of the Month for April by Kansas City media. He finished the month with 13 straight scoreless innings.
Left fielder Alex Gordon was voted Player of the Month by media and fans. Gordon hit .317 with 17 RBIs and three homers, one of them a grand slam at Detroit. He hit .396 in a 12-game hitting streak.
"We play hard, like it's the last pitch every game."
-- Third baseman Mike Moustakas on the Royals' energy and approach.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.