Moose matches Royals' mark with 36th HR

Moose matches Royals' mark with 36th HR

MINNEAPOLIS -- Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas hit his 35th home run on Aug. 15 in Oakland, and even he admits now that once he got to that point, the thought of tying and breaking the 32-year-old club record for home runs in a season began to find its way into his mind.

Moustakas finally tied Steve Balboni (36 in 1985) with a three-run wallop in a five-run third inning in the Royals' 7-6 win over the Twins on Friday night.

"I've been telling you guys the whole time, I'm not really thinking about it too much," Moustakas said. "You know, maybe once it got to 35 it started creeping in my head a little bit. That's when I started trying to do a little bit too much. Tonight, I was kind of relaxed. I just tried to put a good approach together."

Moustakas jumped on a 2-2 fastball from former teammate Dillon Gee and smashed it into the right-field seats. The ball traveled a projected 368 feet at 108 mph, according to Statcast™. The Royals said afterward they were able to retrieve the baseball to give to Moustakas.

"I hit it pretty good," Moustakas said. "I knew I hit it good. The question was if it was going to get out or not. It ended up getting out. It was a huge home run for us, though."

The three-run blast gave the Royals a 5-2 lead.

"He's a tough out," Gee said. "He can change the game with one swing. And he did."

Moustakas' teammates were quick to congratulate him when he got to the dugout.

"It was relief for everyone," manager Ned Yost said. "Everyone was pulling hard for him to tie it. Now they can pull hard for him to break it."

Moustakas, though, said he has been trying to keep the record in perspective, especially with his team trying to claw its way back into postseason contention. The Royals now are 3 1/2 games behind the Twins for the American League's second Wild Card spot.

"When I came in the dugout, and all the boys were giving me hugs, and high fives and stuff," Moustakas said. "And after the game, when everyone was saying congratulations, that's kind of when it sunk in a little bit. But again, we got another game tomorrow. So you can't dwell on it too much. But it's an awesome achievement, for sure."

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.