6/15/2013 12:50 A.M. ET
Gordon lauds stellar pitching for turnaround
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- What's the main factor behind the Royals' stirring turnaround this month?
They went 8-20 in May, but since June 1, the Royals are 10-3 after Friday night's 7-2 win over the Rays.
"Pitching," was left fielder Alex Gordon's answer.
Hmm. Not timely hitting?
"No, it's pitching," he said. "Pitching has been keeping us in the ballgame the whole time. I saw the stat, 12 straight games with three runs or less. That puts no pressure on the offense at all. So it's pitching, absolutely."
Yes, but there have been some timely late-game hits.
"The reason we're getting those hits is because the pitching is keeping us in the games and giving us the opportunities to do that," Gordon said. "That's the real reason. If we're down 6-0, those timely hits at the end of the game aren't going to matter. So, yeah, it's the pitching."
Butler moving up Royals' all-time RBIs list
ST. PETERSBURG -- Billy Butler's three RBIs in the Royals' 7-2 victory over Tampa Bay on Friday night vaulted him past Carlos Beltran on the team's all-time ledger.
Butler now stands eighth on the franchise list with 517 RBIs, one more than Beltran had in his time with Kansas City.
"It's pretty good company," Butler said. "Beltran's a great player. Obviously, he's still doing it today. I remember watching him play in a Royals uniform; he did a lot of great things, a lot of big hits. It's good to be mentioned with him."
Beltran is now driving in runs for the Cardinals as their right fielder.
"It's two completely different type of players," Butler said. "But obviously, he's one of the better players in the game and has been for a long time. It's tough to even compare us, because he plays outfield and I'm a DH. It's great to be mentioned with him. Obviously, I think he's a way better player, all around."
At the top of the Royals' RBI list, of course, is current hitting coach George Brett with 1,596.
Yost returns to Royals after happy occasions
ST. PETERSBURG -- Manager Ned Yost was back at the helm of the Royals on Friday night, returning from his daughter Jenny's wedding in Georgia.
Everything went well with the nuptials and Yost proudly showed a photo of him with Jenny.
"She looked stunning," he said.
Not that Yost was completely unaware of what was going on Thursday night at Tropicana Field in the Royals-Rays game.
"I watched it on the phone sitting there," Yost confessed.
He was concerned when the game was scoreless through five innings. But, sneaking a peek, Yost got good news from the phone TV screen in the sixth.
"I look and we got two -- good. Boom! Four, six, eight -- man!" he said.
Yep, the final was 10-1 and acting manager Chino Cadahia was 1-0 as Yost's stand-in.
"I'm going to quit on this one," Cadahia said happily.
Brett, Gossage jerseys among auction items
ST. PETERSBURG -- The 30th anniversary of one of the most bizarre incidents in Royals' history, the Pine Tar Game, is rapidly approaching and a special memento will be available to auction bidders at the Diamond of Dreams on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium.
Baseball fans have often seen the video from July 24, 1983, when George Brett, deprived of a home run because of too much pine tar on his bat, charged out of the dugout in rage to confront the umpires. The two-run homer off the Yankees' Goose Gossage gave the Royals a 5-4 lead until New York manager Billy Martin convinced umpire Tim McClelland that Brett was in violation of the rules. The ruling was overturned, the ninth inning was completed 25 days later at Yankee Stadium, and the Royals won, 5-4.
To commemorate the famous incident, Royals Charities will have signed jerseys by Brett and Gossage plus a photo of the incident at a silent auction on Thursday night. The event on the Kauffman Stadium field will benefit the University of Kansas Hospital's Neonatal Medical Home.
Several other displays will be available at the "Baseball's Greatest Moments" auction. Among them are:
• Jackie Robinson breaks the color barrier, 1947 -- Index card signed by Robinson, replica of his Hall of Fame plaque, poster from the movie "42."
• "The Catch" by Willie Mays, 1954 World Series -- Jersey signed by Mays and photo of his catch of Vic Wertz's drive.
• Bob Gibson dominates the Red Sox, 1967 World Series -- A 1967 Cardinals jersey autographed by Gibson and an action shot of the pitcher.
• Future Hall of Famers with Miracle Mets, 1969 -- Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan signed replicas of their 1969 Mets jerseys.
• Hank Aaron becomes the home run king, 1974 -- Braves white home jersey No. 44 autographed by Aaron and photo of him breaking Babe Ruth's record.
• Carlton Fisk waves World Series home run fair, 1975 -- Autographed Red Sox jersey by Fisk and signed Reds jersey by catcher Johnny Bench with a photo of the wave.
Several others famous moments are commemorated with similar items for the event. Tickets are available at $100 each for the 7 p.m. CT fundraiser at www.royals.com/diamondofdreams or by calling (816) 504-4149. Limited availability remains for the VIP Party at 5:30 p.m., at $250 per ticket.
Royals ink deals with four more Draft picks
ST. PETERSBURG -- Four more of the Royals' First-Year Player Draft picks have signed contracts.
They were third-round choice Carter Hope, a right-handed pitcher from The Woodlands, Texas; fourth-round pick Zane Evans, a catcher from Georgia Tech; 19th-rounder Andrew Edwards, a right-handed pitcher from Western Kentucky University, and 23rd-rounder Javier Reynoso, a left-handed pitcher from Middle Georgia College.
The Royals also signed two free agents -- catcher Logan Davis from the University of San Diego and left-hander Tripp Davis from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Logan Davis is the son of ex-Royals pitcher Mark Davis, who won the National League Cy Young Award in 1989 and now is a Royals Minor League pitching coach.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.