CLEVELAND -- What is it about Alex Gordon's eyeballs that make them such desirable destinations for tiny flying creatures?
Three months after a moth flew into one of Gordon's peepers during a key ninth-inning at-bat in Kansas City, the left fielder had to overcome the annoyances of another insect in Cleveland on Monday, when he stepped to the dish with no outs and a runner on second base in the eighth inning of a game the Royals trailed by three runs.
Last time, on June 25 against the Braves, Gordon reached on an intentional walk. This time, he crushed a homer to right field, bringing the Royals to within one run and becoming the 13th player in franchise history to pile up 100 round-trippers in his career.
"It was before I even saw a pitch," Gordon said. "It flew into my eye and got [stuck]. I called timeout and tried to get it out of me eye. I think I pushed it down far enough [to] where it didn't bother me too much. I just tried to play with it."
With the help of a trainer, Gordon removed the bug -- which was probably one of Cleveland's infamous midges -- when he returned to the dugout. Between Monday's incident and the one from June, Gordon appears to be a marked man.
"That was the first thing that crossed my mind, is, 'Not this again,'" Gordon said. "I knew I had a big at-bat, so I just kind of brushed it away and focused on [hitting]."
Hosmer a nominee for Man of the Year Award
CLEVELAND -- Eric Hosmer doesn't just help the Royals on the field. Off it, he does what he can for the Kansas City community.
The 30 team nominees for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award were announced on Tuesday, and Hosmer's teammates chose him to represent the Royals. From now until 10:59 p.m. CT on Sunday, fans can go to MLBPLAYERS.com and vote for the big leaguer "whose on-field performance and contributions to his community inspire others to higher levels of achievement."
Hosmer's continued involvement with the Kansas City-area Big Brothers/Big Sisters program likely made him stand out as a candidate for the award.
"Anytime you're up for basically anything, you're excited about it," said Hosmer, who was unaware of his nomination until asked to comment. "If you have the ability to help out kids and have the ability to just be a role model for kids, it's an unbelievable feeling."
For his efforts, Hosmer must have plenty of young fans. Anybody who roots for him has probably noticed how productive he's been for the Royals over the past few months. Through the season's first two months, Hosmer was hitting .261. Since June 1, though, he's batting .323/.374/.509 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs.
It was toward the end of May that hitting coaches George Brett and Pedro Grifol came aboard. Brett is no longer in that role, but Grifol has remained, and so has Hosmer's hot bat.
"Confidence is a lot of it," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "There was some mechanical issues in his swing. He was really struggling early in the year to pull the ball and use the whole field, but since George and Pedro got here, they got him freed up. He's now using the entire field, and his confidence just grew from there."
Royals finding postseason success in Minors
CLEVELAND -- While the Royals continue making their best effort to reach the postseason, a couple of the organization's Minor League affiliates are already there.
On Tuesday, the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers hosted the Angels' Triple-A affiliate, the Salt Lake Bees, in Game 1 of the Pacific Coast League Championship at Werner Park, although the game was suspended in the second inning due to the weather and will resume on Wednesday. That same day, Game 2 of the Pioneer League South Divisional Playoff between Kansas City's Rookie-level affiliate, the Idaho Falls Chukars, and the Grand Junction Rockies was postponed, setting up a doubleheader for Wednesday.
The Chukars capitalized on eight Grand Junction errors on Monday to win the first game of the best-of-three series.
Royals manager Ned Yost is most focused on his own team's fortunes, but he's well aware of the position the Omaha and Idaho Falls clubs have put themselves in.
"I'm very pleased," Yost said. "Winning is a great experience, so wherever you can get it only helps us up here. When those young players get up here, they've been through a winning situation. It's always funny. It doesn't matter if you're in little league, it doesn't matter if you're in college, high school, if you're in professional baseball, winning is a great experience, and it means a lot. There's no substitute for it."
In Tuesday's championship opener, the Storm Chasers sent southpaw Chris Dwyer, ranked by MLB.com as the Royals' No. 11 prospect, to the mound against Salt Lake right-hander Matt Shoemaker. Both pitchers had allowed a run before play was suspended.
Quote to note
"It's never fun when you lose. It's fun that the game meant something and that it was played with so much intensity and so much excitement. That part was fun."
-- Yost, on the postseason-like atmosphere in Monday's 4-3 loss.
• After the Royals wrap up this week's series in Cleveland on Wednesday, they have an off-day on Thursday before opening a three-game weekend series in Detroit on Friday. Yost is thinking of using the off-day to skip scheduled Friday starter Danny Duffy's spot in the rotation and have Bruce Chen, Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie pitch against the Tigers.
"I haven't made a final decision. I'm about 90 percent sure I'm going to do it," Yost said Tuesday. "I want my veteran guys out there in that series."
• Chris Getz entered in the ninth inning of Monday's game as a pinch-runner, his first game action since Sept. 3. In between, Getz dealt with concussion-like symptoms, but he passed the necessary tests and is healthy now.
"You do the best you can to keep the game under control," Getz said about adjusting to game action after being away from it. "But there's nothing that simulates a game like the game. Whether it's in your early work, your batting practice, you try to kind of up your intensity so it's not such a difference when you enter the game. So it is, yeah, I think it's a battle for any guy that hasn't played in awhile, but that's part of the gig. That's part of our job."
• Thursday's off-day marks the end of a 44-day stretch in which the Royals will have played 44 games.
"A real good time would have been about a week ago, but it's coming when it comes," Yost said.
The club had an off-day on Aug. 19, but a doubleheader on Aug. 16. And on Aug. 26, the Royals played a makeup game against Tampa Bay. Through the first 42 of those 44 games, Kansas City went 24-18.
"We've done really well through it, too," Yost said. "That's a very grueling, grinding stretch, 44 games in 44 days."
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.