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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

Monarchs, Cardinals seek first win -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Royals drop game at Cleveland -9/25/2014, 10:26 AM

UTEP football coach Sean Kugler hopes to build a program that can emulate Kansas State -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Indians hit the road -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Giants, Redskins trying to avoid steeper climb in East -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

KVA prep volleybal rankings, Sept. 24 -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

HHS soccer falls at Great Bend -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

HHS takes third at Salina South Invitational -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

No. 8 Washburn too much for Tigers -9/24/2014, 10:28 AM

Tiger defense continues to get stronger -9/24/2014, 10:29 AM

Two wins for TMP volleyball -9/24/2014, 10:27 AM

TMP soccer rolls to win -9/24/2014, 10:29 AM

Ventura dominates Indians as Royals push for postseason -9/24/2014, 10:28 AM

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Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

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Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

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Salina Central 62, Andover 58

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

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Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

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Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

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Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

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Trego 56, Leoti 27

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SPOTLIGHT
Royals fall Saturday in Oakland

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Royals fall Saturday in Oakland

Published on -8/3/2014, 7:05 AM

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By Andy McCullough
McClatchy-Tribune
The baseball hung in the sky for eight seconds, and Billy Butler stared upward for the duration. His eyes were bare, without protective shades to ward off any glare, but he insisted afterward the sun had not hampered him.
As Jonny Gomes' soaring pop-up floated toward first base, the Royals' temporary replacement shuffled around and made a backhanded stab. "I just misjudged it," Butler said in a quiet clubhouse after his team absorbed an 8-3 drubbing by the Oakland Athletics.
His aim wasn't true. The ball thunked onto the grass. The crowd at O.co Coliseum roared, and the Royals experienced their first pangs for the defensive play of injured Gold Glover Eric Hosmer. Butler pours hours into his fielding, but his quality cannot match that of KC's regular at first.
"He screwed up," manager Ned Yost said. "He didn't catch the ball."
For some teams, the result would have been a measly single. For Oakland, it was an invitation to pounce. The best clubs do not let gaffes go unpunished, and the Athletics are the class of the American League.
After Butler's flub, the A's unloaded for eight runs on Jason Vargas and Aaron Crow thanks to mistakes in the field by Butler, Mike Moustakas and Alex Gordon. Oakland batted around in the inning and swatted aside the Royals (56-53) in the process.
"We got careless, and it came back to bite us," Vargas said.
Vargas (8-5, 3.69 ERA) weathered the pounding in his first start back after missing nearly a month because of an appendectomy. His teammates cobbled together three runs against new Oakland ace Jon Lester, but when he departed midway through the seventh, the Royals still trailed by five. After a 1-0 victory on Friday, Kansas City can still sneak out of the Bay Area with a series victory if James Shields trumps former Tampa teammate Scott Kazmir on Sunday.
For a few innings Saturday, the script from the previous night looked recycled. Yost considers Lester a friend. His farm in rural Georgia borders a property owned by Lester. They share resources during the winter. Yost noticed the bewilderment apparent in Lester's face on Friday, when he arrived in Oakland, suddenly wrenched from the only franchise he had ever known.
"It's a shock, man," Yost said. "When you've gone through what he's gone through in Boston. He should have got the dadgum World Series MVP last year. Pitching them to two world championships. Loves the town. It's a shock."
Thanks to the quirks of scheduling, the Royals became the club Lester faced in his final start for the Red Sox at Fenway Park and the club he faced in his first start for Oakland at O.co Coliseum. The first outing was a masterful performance. Lester squashed Kansas City for eight scoreless innings, and yielded four hits along the way.
In one turn through the order on Saturday, the Royals collected a trio of knocks. A leadoff single by Alcides Escobar in the third inning translated into a run. His teammates followed with him a succession of tidy, productive at-bats: Nori Aoki walked. Omar Infante advanced the duo with a bunt. Salvador Perez lashed a fly to center field, deep enough to plate Escobar.
So Vargas inherited a lead. On July 8, he pitched into the sixth inning at Tropicana Field. He awoke in the middle of the night with wrenching pains in his abdomen. The persisting discomfort forced him into the hospital, where his appendix was removed via a laparoscopic procedure.
Back to action on Saturday, he did not allow a man on base through four innings. Then he unraveled, undone by a succession of well-placed singles, defensive miscues and the relentlessness of his hosts.
"We just didn't play good as a whole in the fifth inning," Vargas said. "I left some balls up. Didn't play defense. That's what happens. It unraveled."
Oakland got its first base runner at the start of the frame. Derek Norris dunked a double into right. Then Gomes took first on Butler's mistake. Stephen Vogt chopped a bunt back to the mound, and Vargas whirled for a forceout at third.
With one out, Vargas looked capable of suppressing the threat. Then Alberto Callapso tied the game with a single to right. Four more singles followed, the last grounder off the bat of shortstop Jed Lowrie. The ball skipped beneath the glove of Mike Moustakas and into the outfield.
"I just didn't make the play," Moustakas said. "That's all there really is."
Vargas departed, and manager Ned Yost watched Crow sprinkle gasoline on the fire. He walked in a run and yielded a two-run single to Gomes. An extra run came home because Gordon overran Gomes' hit, a slapstick capper to a miserable inning.
"I took my eye off the ball," Gordon said. "I was trying to throw the guy at home before I got the ball. Stupid mistake on my part, not seeing the ball in the glove. That's what happens."
It was a collective collapse. Vargas wobbled. Butler misjudged. Moustakas and Gordon failed. Oakland never ceased pounding on their opponents.
"The fifth inning, you probably won't see something like that happen again," Vargas said. "If you do, it probably won't be for a while. It's one of those ones that got away from us."
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