TORONTO -- Mike Moustakas launched his 37th home run of 2017 in Wednesday night's 15-5 win over the Blue Jays, making him the new all-time record holder for home runs by a Kansas City Royals player in a single season.
"I knew I hit it pretty good and this is a pretty good place to hit." Moustakas said. "I was just seeing if it got out or not, and it did, so it was a good feeling to see it go over the wall and kind of get that one off my chest."
Moustakas surpassed Steve Balboni, who hit 36 for the Royals in 1985. After racing out to 25 home runs by the All-Star break, Moustakas reached 36 on Sept. 1 against the Twins and has been chasing the record for the past 15 games.
"I had a nice run. I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did," Balboni said in a video message on the Royals' Twitter page congratulating Moustakas.
"It's a great accomplishment," manager Ned Yost said of the fallen 32-year-old record. "There obviously has been some major degree of difficulty in doing it. So for him to accomplish it with 11 games left, it's a huge, huge accomplishment."
Wednesday's home run came against Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez on a 2-0 slider that stayed up over the plate. Moustakas turned on the pitch, sending it a Statcast™ projected 364 feet over the right-field wall with an exit velocity of 96.3 mph.
"It was kind of after I came in and everyone was giving me hugs and saying congratulations is kind of when it really sunk in," Moustakas said. "It was pretty special to be able to hit that and then come in and share that with all my teammates, all the guys I've spent 10-plus years with. It's definitely an awesome feeling and that's something I'm definitely going to remember for the rest of my life."
After the win, Yost reflected on what it meant to have such a central figure to recent Royals history set such a prominent record. Moustakas was drafted by the Royals in 2007, and is now in his seventh Major League season.
"These guys here, they're going to leave such a legacy on this team," Yost said. "World champions, All-Stars, Gold Glovers, All-Star [Game] MVPs, World Series MVPs. They've all accomplished so much. A part of this group being the new leader for home runs in a year, I think just adds on to everything else."
Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.