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Indians focused on game -10/2/2014, 10:22 AM

Area prep football district standings -10/2/2014, 10:21 AM

Chiefs' Donald Stephenson eager to get on field -10/2/2014, 10:21 AM

McFarland to start at QB for Monarchs -10/2/2014, 10:20 AM

Royals step up big -10/2/2014, 10:20 AM

Wild, wild win in K.C. -10/1/2014, 10:23 AM

Jones didn't wait to impact Kansas State -10/1/2014, 10:23 AM

HHS soccer falls on road -10/1/2014, 10:23 AM

Tiger golfers finish 10th on home course -10/1/2014, 10:23 AM

After big win, Tigers back to work -10/1/2014, 3:09 PM

Chiefs' Smith in a groove -10/1/2014, 10:23 AM

Late surge pushes Dodge past TMP -10/1/2014, 10:22 AM

Monarch XC sweeps titles at Lyons -10/1/2014, 10:22 AM

Tigers' Cole earns MIAA soccer honor -9/30/2014, 3:10 PM

Royals' playoff appearance years in the making for some fans -9/30/2014, 10:34 AM

Chiefs offense gets rolling in rout -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

California has four teams in the playoffs for the first time -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

TMP golf finishes third at Hoisington meet -9/30/2014, 10:35 AM

Monarchs move to 14-10 -9/30/2014, 10:30 AM

Big 12 coaches react to firing -9/30/2014, 10:21 AM

HHS volleyball goes 2-3 in Newton -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

HHS tennis places third at Garden City Invitational -9/29/2014, 4:16 PM

Tiger tennis finishes fall season 5-2 -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

MNF for Chiefs -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

Royals' starters rest in win -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

KU shows Weis the door -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

Jayhawks take the conservative route in their loss to Texas -9/28/2014, 9:43 AM

FHSU soccer cruises past SW Baptist -9/28/2014, 7:03 PM

Victoria takes advantage for close win at Ness -9/28/2014, 1:14 AM

Plainville grabs first win, beats TMP -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Area prep football roundup: Otis-Bison, Kinsley set record -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Wildcats roll -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Delton, HHS run past Garden City -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's soccer picks up 1-0 win at Southern -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's XC wins at Emporia State -9/27/2014, 7:12 PM

Kansas City clinches first playoff berth since 1985 -9/27/2014, 7:02 PM

Tigers take down No. 8 Pitt State -9/27/2014, 6:53 PM

Kansas linebacker Jake Love lives on instincts -9/26/2014, 11:06 AM

Like old times, Kansas State takes pride in stuffing the run -9/26/2014, 10:57 AM

FHSU women fall 2-1 -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Big win for Tiger soccer -9/26/2014, 10:46 AM

Tough test for Tiger football -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Hays High, TMP move to 4A -9/26/2014, 10:24 AM

One more win and Royals are in -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS XC second at McPherson meet -9/26/2014, 10:25 AM

Indian soccer snaps skid -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS golf clinches share of WAC title -9/26/2014, 10:48 AM

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Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

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Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

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Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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Shields strikes out 12 as Royals complete sweep

Published on -4/18/2014, 10:23 AM

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By Andy McCullough

McClatchy-Tribune

HOUSTON -- The streak began in the sixth inning of a 5-1 Royals victory, when James Shields left Astros outfielder Dexter Fowler numb with a 92-mph fastball at the thighs. Six batters later, third baseman Matt Dominguez stared at a 90-mph fastball at the knees, and Shields had his seventh strikeout in a row.

The wipeout stemmed from a variety of factors: The hapless Astros themselves, a free-swinging club. Shields' impeccable control of his change-up, cutter and both his four-seam and two-seam fastballs. Shields operating in lockstep with catcher Salvador Perez.

"With that kind of combination," Shields said, "and our defense playing the way they did today, it's a nice win for us."

The string of consecutive punchouts, five of them looking, nearly matched the franchise of eight set by Blake Stein in 2001. Instead, Shields settled for a 12-strikeout performance that was his best as a Royal, part of a bullying performance on Thursday night.

"After getting swept in Minnesota, it was a huge, huge series for us," Shields said.

The club limped into Minute Maid Park three days ago. The Twins had demolished them the previous weekend. The Royals collapsed in all phases of the game and suddenly acquired the American League's worst record.

The Target Field nightmare included Saturday, when Minnesota ambushed Shields, and subjected him to a seven-run trouncing. Shields atoned for that disastrous outing on Thursday with his third quality start in four attempts. He toyed with the Astros for eight innings and yielded only one run.

Thus a subsequent sweep of the lowly Astros proved both restorative and necessary. The reconfigured batting order offered some pop: Perez, the new cleanup hitter, roped an RBI double. Now in the No. 6 spot, Billy Butler collected a single, walked and scored a run. Alcides Escobar slashed a crucial, two-run double.

Manager Ned Yost dislikes rearranging his batting order. He believes tinkering with his lineup is frivolous. But he made a concession for Thursday. He removed Butler from the cleanup spot.

Butler, the slump-ridden designated hitter, had appeared in that position for the first 13 games. Yost could no longer ignore Butler's travails. He entered Thursday with a .149 batting average. He had yet to deliver an extra-base hit. When he put the ball in play, he hit a grounder 71.8 percent of the time.

"I've never seen him go through anything like this before," Yost said.

Yost suggested that Butler was pressing, swinging at pitches out of the strike zone and ignoring his natural tendencies. Butler could not say whether that was the case. He understood why he lost his spot in the order: He wasn't hitting.

"All I do, I hit," Butler said. "I don't know how to manage a club. I felt more comfortable today. Maybe that's what his goal was."

When Butler came up to hit in the second, the Royals already led by a run. Houston starter Scott Feldman had just allowed a single to Alex Gordon. Butler ignored two curveballs and scalded a 1-1 cutter. The low line drive skipped past shortstop Jonathan Villar for a hit.

The third single of inning belonged to Mike Moustakas, the previous night's hero. In this encounter with Feldman, he followed the script written in the Cactus League. Even after falling behind 0-2, he managed to muscle an RBI single into center field.

Gordon and Butler teamed up to spark another rally in the fourth. Gordon blooped a single. Butler worked a walk. Both had moved into scoring position by the time shortstop Alcides Escobar came to bat. Escobar stayed back on a curveball from Feldman and slashed a two-out, two-run double in the right-center gap.

Perez added his RBI double in the fifth. His liner slipped beneath the glove of center fielder Dexter Fowler, and Nori Aoki loped home for his second run of the day. Eric Hosmer chugged around the bases from first but was thrown out at the plate.

Soon after, Shields overwhelmed his opponents. After Fowler struck out, George Springer swung over a change-up and Jason Castro was frozen by a cutter. Shields fanned the side in the seventh. By that point, he was aware of his accomplishment, even if he felt unimpressed.

Shields does not glorify strikeouts. He will take outs in any form. He picked up 24 on Thursday -- 12 by strikeout.

"He was on the attack," Yost said, "all night."

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