Orlando flirts with cycle as part of 4-hit game

Royals leadoff man finishes a double shy, raises average to .334

Orlando flirts with cycle as part of 4-hit game

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Royals' dugout, starting with manager Ned Yost, was pulling for Paulo Orlando to get one more at-bat in the ninth inning on Sunday.

Orlando, who was due up fourth in the ninth, had singled, tripled and homered in the eventual 11-4 win over the Twins. He needed one more chance for a double and the cycle.

Orlando got that chance after Alcides Escobar singled. Orlando came up against hard-throwing reliever Ryan Pressly. Orlando was looking for a breaking ball, hoping to shoot it into the right-field corner.

"Yeah, that guy throws hard," Orlando said. "I hoped he would throw a breaking ball. He threw it first pitch and I tried to go the other way, but I was late. Then, I made an adjustment and he threw it right down the middle, and I hit it right back up the middle [for a single]."

Yost joked, "Yeah, we wanted him to get up. And he gets a lousy single."

Orlando's four-hit game

Orlando has had plenty of hits all season. His four-hit game, which included a three-run homer, raised his average to .334, which would rank second in the American League if he had enough plate appearances -- Orlando is about 35 short of qualifying for the batting race.

"I feel better, very comfortable at the plate," Orlando said. "I'm seeing the ball better. I'm helping the team."

That is a fact. And Orlando especially is helping the team since Yost moved him up to the top of the order. Orlando is now 10-for-25 (.400) since hitting leadoff.

"I'm still learning," Orlando said, smiling. "It's still early. They throw a lot of fastballs when you're up there. I'm learning to look for first-pitch fastballs and just be ready for a good pitch."

Orlando has impressed Yost all season.

"He's been very, very solid," Yost said. "It's just amazing his consistency. It just seems like he gets two and three hits every night.

"You know, at the end of the Spring Training, if you told me in the middle of August that Paulo Orlando would be doing what he's doing, I mean, I'd have a hard time believing it. But after seeing it all summer long, it's just phenomenal the year that he's put together, and it's not fluky stuff."

What Yost also likes is that Orlando gives the Royals another dimension at the top of the order -- occasional pop.

"That first ball that he hit, he missed it, but it just kept carrying and carrying and carrying for a triple," Yost said. "Then, he smoked the home run, which was a big blow at that time. He's got some pop and can hit the ball to all fields. He can do a lot of things."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.