DETROIT -- This year, Jeff Francoeur leads the Major Leagues with 19 assists; last year, Alex Gordon led with 20. If Francoeur finishes first -- and he should, because he has a five-assist lead over his nearest competitors -- the Royals will earn a distinction.
They would become the first team since the Red Sox to have back-to-back big league leaders in outfield assists and that goes way, way back. Tris Speaker led in 1909 with 35 assists and Harry Hooper tied in 1910 with 30 assists, matching the Washington Senators' Clyde Milan.
The last team to have back-to-back leaders outright, with no ties, is the St. Louis Cardinals -- Dick Harley in 1898 had 26 assists and Emmett Heidrick in 1899 had 34. (Although that was before they were called the Cardinals; in 1898, they were the Browns, in 1899, the Perfectos.)
First KC homer puts Moore in rare company
DETROIT -- Catcher Adam Moore joined a select group when he hit a home run in his first at-bat for the Royals on Sunday.
Only three others have done it since 1974, according to STATS Inc.: Calvin Pickering on Aug. 22, 2004, vs. Texas; Yamil Benitez on July 24, 1997, at Minnesota; and Jon Nunnally on April 29, 1995, vs. New York. Moore is the first Royals player since Benitez to homer in his first plate appearance (Pickering walked in his first trip to the plate).
Moore's blast to left in the third inning gave the Royals a 1-0 lead in what became a 15-4 loss to Cleveland.
"That felt really good, count 2-0 and got a fastball I could handle, put a good swing on it and put it out of the park," Moore said.
It was Moore's sixth Major League homer; the rest came with Seattle.
"I thought he did a nice job of receiving the ball, blocking the ball in the dirt, hit a home run," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Looked good, I'm was impressed with him."
Moore handled right-hander Jake Odorizzi in his big league debut because he'd caught him with Triple-A Omaha this year. Odorizzi pitched five scoreless innings before giving up three runs in the sixth.
"He held his composure from pitch one until he got yanked out of the game. I thought he did a tremendous job," Moore said. "As soon as he starts getting that ball down in the zone consistently, which I know he can do, he's going to be perfectly fine."
Debut quite an experience for Royals' Odorizzi
DETROIT -- Rookie pitcher Jake Odorizzi never did get an accurate count, but it was quite a contingent that showed up at Kansas City for his debut on Sunday, most of them from his hometown of Highland, Ill.
"I think the range was 40 to 50 people, including family," he said. "It was a short drive so they made a nice day out of it."
Odorizzi pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs to the Indians in a 15-4 loss.
"The thing I was really excited about was he was efficient, worked fast and it's fun to play behind him," right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. "And we all feel comfortable with that."
The nervousness factor?
"I wasn't that bad, to tell you the truth," Odorizzi said. "I think it really helped that I have five days to watch the games prior to this, leading up to it, and when it was my turn it was like a normal start going out there. I wasn't too jittery. ... I was pretty calm."
After the game, Odorizzi took part in the annual rookies' initiation, dressing up in outrageous costumes at the veterans' whim for the trip to Detroit. He drew a loud green dress.
"We had a lot of fun with it," Odorizzi said.
When the team arrived at its hotel, the lobby was virtually deserted so no other guests were aghast or amused.
"The only guy that gave me a laugh was the guy that brought my bag up to me. He got a really good laugh out of it," Odorizzi said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.