Royals lead way with 5 in AL All-Star balloting

Cain, Escobar, Moustakas seeking their first selections

Royals lead way with 5 in AL All-Star balloting

NEW YORK -- The Big Blue Machine?

The Royals, the defending American League champions, have five players among the leaders in the first voting figures for the 86th All-Star Game to be played Tuesday, July 14, at Great American American Ball Park. The only other team in history to have five players voted on the All-Star team since voting was returned to the fans in 1970 was the 1976 "Big Red Machine" Cincinnati Reds.

Catcher Salvador Perez, an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, leads all AL players on the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot with 1,447,753 total votes. Perez would join Darrell Porter (1979) as the only Royals catchers to earn a fan-elected start.

"I'm happy," Perez said. "I'm thankful for the fans and the people who voted for me.

"It will be a lot more interesting with more [Royals] there."

Center fielder Lorenzo Cain has the second-highest vote total at 1,376,217, which leads all AL outfielders.

Cain, seeking his first All-Star selection, seemed humbled by the recognition.

"It's nice," he said. "Lot of guys playing well right now. It's nice to have the people vote for you. I'm not used to having people vote for me. There are a lot of great players out there so we'll see what happens."

Cain's teammate, Alex Gordon, a two-time All-Star, was third among AL outfielders behind Cain and Mike Trout of the Angels. Gordon, who has 991,606 votes, said he believes more fans around the country are voting for the Royals.

"It's awesome. Just awesome," Gordon said. "Fans got to know us in October. And they got to know us for fighting this year. We're on a lot of TV."

Alcides Escobar leads all shortstops with 1,191,268 votes and Mike Moustakas leads all third basemen with 1,261,769 votes. Both are seeking their first All-Star selections.

"Esky is huge for me," manager Ned Yost said. "Esky's been deserving for a couple of years. Moose, Sal, Lorenzo, Gordo, this is great. Just hope the numbers stay there."

Escobar, too, was excited to hear the vote totals.

"Feels good. Wow," Escobar said. "Maybe this time I'll get the opportunity to play in the game."

The Royals also have three players in second place at their respective positions: first baseman Eric Hosmer, second baseman Omar Infante and designated hitter Kendrys Morales.

Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on their computers, tablets and smartphones -- using the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, July 2, at 10:59 p.m. CT. For the first time, voting is exclusively online, where fans may submit up to 35 ballots.

Fans may also receive the ballot by texting VOTE to 89269 (USA) or 101010 (Canada). Or text VOTA for a ballot in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply. Up to five messages. No purchase required. Reply STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for info.

Following the announcement of the 2015 All-Stars, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player for each league's All-Star roster. On Tuesday, July 14, watch the 2015 All-Star Game live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2015 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of All-Star Week festivities.

The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.