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by Joe Kay, AP

St. Louis Cardinals' Randal Grichuk watches his game-winning solo home run off Cincinnati Reds pitcher Dylan Axelrod during the 13th inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, in Cincinnati. The Cardinals won 4-3. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

St. Louis Cardinals’ Randal Grichuk watches his game-winning solo home run off Cincinnati Reds pitcher Dylan Axelrod during the 13th inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, in Cincinnati. The Cardinals won 4-3. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CINCINNATI (AP) — Rookie Randal Grichuk knew that in homer-friendly Great American Ball Park, all it takes is one decent swing to end a game.

Matt Carpenter tied it with a solo homer in the eighth, and Grichuk connected in the 13th inning, rallying the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.

Grichuk was moved up to second in the Cardinals’ struggling batting order. He doubled home a run in the sixth inning and hit his 15th homer in the 13th off Dylan Axelrod (0-1), Cincinnati’s eighth pitcher.

He knew the ballpark’s reputation for yielding homers that would be outs in most other places.

“You know the ball flies here,” Grichuk said. “It’s in the back of your mind.”

So far, Grichuk has shown a propensity to hit balls hard and strike out a lot.

“Two big swings for us,” manager Mike Matheny said. “He’s got the potential. You might see some swings-and-misses sometimes, but you also see what he does tonight.”

Seth Maness (4-1) gave up a pair of walks in two innings, completing an impressive night by the bullpen. Cardinals relievers blanked the Reds over the final eight innings.

“The way they’ve been throwing the ball this year, we know that if we can scratch a few runs – not many – we’ve got a chance to win,” Carpenter said. “Today was a good example of that.”

Matheny changed the batting order – Grichuk went from batting eighth on Tuesday to second – to try to spark his struggling offense, but the Cardinals didn’t get much going until late in the game.

Left-hander David Holmberg allowed two runs, including Grichuk’s RBI double off the top of the wall in center that cut it to 3-2 in the sixth.

Carpenter tied it with a homer in the eighth off J.J. Hoover, only the third that the reliever has allowed this season. It was Carpenter’s fifth homer in his last six games.

The Reds strung together walks and infield hits while scoring three times off Carlos Martinez.

They loaded the bases in the third with a walk, an infield single and a fielding error by shortstop Jhonny Peralta. Brayan Pena’s opposite-field double landed just inside the left-field line and made it 2-0.

The Reds loaded the bases again in the fourth with a pair of walks – one to Holmberg – and Brandon Phillips’ single just out of the reach of second baseman Kolten Wong. Todd Frazier’s soft groundout got in another run.


The Cardinals have played 15 extra-inning games, going 7-8. Their longest was an 18-inning loss to the Mets. The Reds have played 13 extra-inning games, going 4-9. They’ve gone as long as 13 innings five times.


Grichuk extended his hitting streak to eight games. Stephen Piscotti’s streak ended at eight games. Jason Heyward’s streak ended at seven games. … Phillips extended his hitting streak to six games. Jay Bruce’s streak ended at six games.


Cardinals: Yadier Molina got hit in the facemask by Phillips’ foul tip in the fourth inning. Phillips checked to see if the catcher was all right as he shook off the hit.

Reds: LH Sean Marshall threw off a bullpen mound for the first time since surgery on May 20 to remove scar tissue in his pitching shoulder. He’ll throw every three days.


Cardinals: Michael Wacha (12-4) has won both of his starts against the Reds this season, allowing only two runs in 13 1-3 innings.

Reds: Michael Lorenzen (3-6) tries for his first win since June 21. He’s 0-4 in his last six starts and has been hit hard in his last three, giving up 17 runs in 13 innings.

Kansas City Royals' Johnny Cueto pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning of a baseball game at Comerica Park, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Kansas City Royals’ Johnny Cueto pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning of a baseball game at Comerica Park, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

DETROIT (AP) — Johnny Cueto still doesn’t have a win for the Kansas City Royals since being acquired from Cincinnati last week.

No one in his clubhouse is blaming him.

Cueto (7-7) only allowed two runs on five hits and two walks in seven innings against Detroit. But Tigers rookie Matt Boyd outdueled him in a 2-1 victory Wednesday.

“That’s part of the game,” Cueto said through an interpreter. “I know that I just have to do my job and my team will take care of the rest.”

Cueto has allowed five runs over two starts, but the bullpen let the first game get away and the offense couldn’t help him on Wednesday.

“I thought he was great again tonight,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He had all his pitches working and he really only made one mistake to (Anthony) Gose.”

That was all Boyd needed to pick his first major-league win in his Tigers debut, days after being acquired from Toronto in the David Price trade.

Boyd received a standing ovation from the crowd of 34,628 after the seventh inning, and couldn’t stop a grin from spreading across his face.

“That was awesome – that’s a moment that I’m never going to forget,” said Boyd, moments after receiving the lineup card in honor of his first career win.

Boyd only allowed one run on seven hits and didn’t walk a batter in a career-long seven innings, three days after Daniel Norris, also picked up in the Price trade, had put up similar numbers against Baltimore.

“He was great out there,” said Tigers catcher James McCann. “It has been exciting to see these new guys pitch – the results are obvious, but these are two young guys showing a ton of poise and pitching with a game plan. Matt is a guy who can live up in the zone, because he’s mixing three breaking balls in with a riding fastball.

“Once I catch these two a few more times, it will be even better.”

Bruce Rondon pitched the eighth before Blaine Hardy and Alex Wilson combined to finish off the Royals. Hardy got the first two outs, helped by a running catch by J.D. Martinez, before Wilson retired Alex Rios for his second save.

After the game, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus confirmed that Wilson will be the closer to replace Joakim Soria, who was traded to Pittsburgh. Wilson has been the team’s long man, set-up man and even made a spot start earlier in the season.

“We would be in a lot of trouble without Alex Wilson,” Ausmus said. “Given everything he’s done for us this year, he has earned the chance to finish out games.”

The Tigers broke a scoreless tie in the third when Gose’s two-out triple over the head of Lorenzo Cain brought home Tyler Collins.

“We had a plan of playing Gose shallow, and it just backfired on us,” Cain said.

Kansas City got its own RBI triple in the fourth, this one off the bat of Kendrys Morales. It was his first triple since 2012 – also against Detroit – and just the fifth of his nine-year career.

Yet another triple let the Tigers regain the lead in their half of the fourth. Ian Kinsler hit it into the right-centerfield gap and scored on Victor Martinez’s groundout.

Rios singled and moved to third on a bad pickoff throw in the fifth, but Boyd got out of the jam.

“He was pitching up in the zone, but we couldn’t catch up with his fastball,” Yost said.


Royals: OF Alex Gordon (groin strain) took indoor batting practice at Comerica Park on Tuesday and hit soft tosses outside on Wednesday. Gordon, who has been out since July 8, is hoping to progress to shagging balls and full batting practice later this week with an eye to returning in late August.

Tigers: 1B Miguel Cabrera (calf strain) has been told to back off on his rehab work, now that the Tigers are falling out of the postseason race. Cabrera, who had been hoping to return in mid-August, now is only saying that he expects to be back this season. . LHP Kyle Lobstein (shoulder) made a rehab outing with Single-A Lakeland, allowing two runs in three innings in his first outing since going on the disabled list in May.


The teams finish a three-game series Thursday afternoon with Yordano Ventura (6-7, 4.98) facing Anibal Sanchez (10-9, 4.77). Ventura is 5-2 with a 3.97 ERA in day games this season, compared with just 1-5 with a 6.11 ERA in night games.

by Dave Skretta, AP

FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2004, file photo, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Will Shields poses with the Walter Payton Man of the Year Trophy during an NFL football news conference in Houston. Shields will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

FILE – In this Jan. 30, 2004, file photo, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Will Shields poses with the Walter Payton Man of the Year Trophy during an NFL football news conference in Houston. Shields will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — On every team that Will Shields played, from high school in Oklahoma to college at Nebraska to the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs, there was always someone better than him.

More talented. More athletic. More important.

But when he’s asked to identify those players, the affable Shields runs into a flaw in his case. Most of the names he mentions never played 14 seasons in the NFL, or made 12 consecutive Pro Bowls, or paved the way for one of the best offenses in Chiefs history.

None of them is going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, either.

“In high school, we had five or six athletes beyond compare,” Shields told The Associated Press. “I was limited where I could go to college. I had four choices and that was kind of it. Then we had such great players at Nebraska, and everybody could play on the Chiefs.”

At least that much is beyond dispute.

When he was chosen by Kansas City in the third round of the 1993 draft, Shields joined a team that included an eventual Hall of Fame quarterback in Joe Montana, a pass rusher in Derrick Thomas and running back in Marcus Allen. Over the years, he’d play with more Hall of Famers – Warren Moon spent time with the Chiefs, as did offensive lineman Willie Roaf.

“Head coaches would say, `Hey, you keep playing the way you are, you could get into the Hall of Fame,'” Shields said. “But Canton wasn’t really in my mind for a goal. For me, it was the day in, day out. I couldn’t look that far ahead. I was more or less worried about practice that day, or getting ready for the game that week.”

Each and every week. The only game Shields did not start was his first as a rookie, followed by a string of 231 appearances. During that time, Shields pried open running lanes for Allen, Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson. He established a pocket for Montana, Moon and Trent Green. He played for coaches that included Marty Schottenheimer, Dick Vermeil and Herm Edwards.

But for all that talent, the Chiefs continually fell short in the playoffs. To this day, they have not won a postseason game since 1993, the year Shields was drafted.

It remains among his biggest regrets in a career with precious few of them.

“I think I was pretty much ready,” Shields said of his retirement in 2006. “I knew at that point the team was going to go young. I wanted an opportunity to play in a Super Bowl, and win a Super Bowl, but at that point I had to make the best decision for me and my body, and at that point it was time to move on. Nowadays, I think, `Man, if I could just get a couple more plays.'”

He is speaking in jest, of course. Shields never thought twice about hanging up his pads, just like he never thought twice about playing for another team. In an era in which players rarely stick around more than a few years, Shields spent his entire career in Kansas City.

“When we draft a player, we hope they can become a contributing member of the franchise,” said Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt, whose late father Lamar founded the team. “But to have somebody like Will make it to the Hall of Fame, they have clearly reached the pinnacle.”

When asked for a favorite memory of Shields, perhaps a notable play or game, Hunt steers the conversation in another direction. In 2003, Shields received the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in recognition of his play on the field and his charity work off it.

“I think that ties it all together so well,” Hunt said.

Shields remains active in the Kansas City community these days. Along with serving on a bank board of directors, he owns and operates a training facility called 68 Inside Sports and spends time on his “Will to Succeed Foundation,” which targets literacy and scholarship, seeks to foster creativity, and helps agencies that cater to abused and neglected women and children.

“For me, being able to say, `Hey, I played a professional sport and made a living out of it,’ that to me is icing on the cake. The end-all, be-all,” Shields said. “I got a chance to play a game I played as a little kid. I got to play it as an adult. You can’t ask for more.”

(West Plains) – The West Plains Lady Zizzer Softball team has a number of events planned for the next few months.

August 17 is Lady Zizzer Softball Night at Colton’s Steak House in West Plains. A percentage of the sales from 11 AM to 8 PM that day go to the Zizzer Softball team to help with travel expenses and equipment.

September 3 is HCAA Rural School Night at the Lady Zizzer Softball Game vs. Waynesville. The start time is at 4:30 PM, and admission for all HCAA Rural Schools softball players and coaches is free.

September 10 is Breast Cancer Awareness Night at the Lady Zizzer Softball Game vs. Rolla. Game time is at 4:30 PM.   Fans are encouraged to wear pink clothing. A percentage of the afternoons proceeds will be donated to the Ozarks Medical Center Cancer Treatment Fund. There will also be free admission to all cancer survivors.

September 17 is Softball Camp Night at the Lady Zizzer Softball Game vs. Lebanon. Game time is at 4:30 PM. Admission is free to any girl who attended 2015 Softball Camp and is wearing their camp t-shirt.

Finally, on September 21, will be the Lady Zizzer Softball Senior Night and BBQ. Student recognition will be in between the Varsity and Junior Varsity game. The Zizzers will be hosting the Kickapoo Chiefs. No game time was given.

by Joe Kay, AP

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher John Lackey reacts after giving up three runs to the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher John Lackey reacts after giving up three runs to the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(Cincinnatti) (AP) – John Lackey settled down after a ragged first inning, allowing only one infield hit while he was on the mound the rest of the way.

Not good enough. Not with the way Anthony DeSclafani has been holding down the Cardinals.

The rookie handled St. Louis for the second straight start, striking out a career-high nine, and the Cincinnati Reds turned a big first inning off Lackey into a 3-2 victory Tuesday night.

DeSclafani (7-7), the most experienced member of Cincinnati’s all-rookie rotation with 20 career starts, gave up seven hits and two runs in six innings. Last Wednesday in St. Louis, DeSclafani gave up only three hits in seven innings of a 1-0 win over the NL Central leaders.

“Their guy was pitching pretty well, too,” Lackey (9-7) said. “You’ve got to give him credit.”

Aroldis Chapman fanned two in the ninth – his fastball topping out at 101 mph – for his 23rd save in 24 chances. The lefty has converted 56 consecutive save opportunities at Great American Ball Park since his last failure in September 2012.

Lackey hadn’t allowed three runs in any of his last nine starts. He went six innings, giving up six hits.

“That first inning definitely could have gone a little bit different,” Lackey said. “I threw the ball OK. I needed to make better pitches with two outs.”

The Cardinals have dominated the Reds in recent years, winning 14 of their last 17 series. The Reds had a bit of a breakthrough in St. Louis last week, taking two of three – their first series win at Busch Stadium since 2001.

They got a good start on extending that success with a big first inning. Jay Bruce had an RBI double – his fifth double in the last six games – and Marlon Byrd followed with another double as Cincinnati sent eight batters to the plate.

After that five-hit, 30-pitch inning, Lackey settled in and allowed only the infield single through the next five innings, retiring the last 14 batters he faced.

“It’s unfortunate, the damage that was done there in the first,” manager Mike Matheny said. “He settled down and stayed in that game a lot longer than I expected him to. Unfortunately a lot of damage was done right there in the beginning.”

Randal Grichuk tripled off the wall in center field and Matt Carpenter hit his 14th homer in the third inning, cutting it to 3-2. It was Carpenter’s fourth homer in the last five games.


Billy Hamilton of the Reds initially misjudged Jason Heyward’s fly ball to center in the eighth, but made a stretching, over-the-shoulder catch and slid on his stomach on the warning track to make up for his late break on the ball.

“It’s a game changer,” Matheny said.


Heyward extended his hitting streak to seven games (10 for 22). Grichuk stretched his to seven games (11 for 25). Stephen Piscotty had his snapped at eight games.


Reds: Hamilton rammed his right leg into the outfield wall while trying unsuccessfully to catch Grichuk’s triple in the third inning. He came up wincing and stretched his leg, but stayed in the game.


Cardinals: Carlos Martinez (11-4) allowed five runs and a season-high 10 hits in five innings of a 9-8 win over Colorado last Thursday. He’s 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA in 13 career appearances against the Reds.

Reds: LHP David Holmberg (1-0) makes his second start since he was called up from Triple-A to take Johnny Cueto’s spot in the rotation. Holmberg gave up two runs and five hits in six innings of a 15-5 win over Pittsburgh on Thursday.

Kansas City Royals' Salvador Perez (13) is congratulated by teammates after he and Eric Hosmer scored on Perez's two-run home run off Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Kansas City Royals’ Salvador Perez (13) is congratulated by teammates after he and Eric Hosmer scored on Perez’s two-run home run off Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

DETROIT (AP) — Salvador Perez can’t explain his success against Justin Verlander. He just hopes it continues.

Perez had three hits off Verlander, including a homer, and drove in three runs as the Kansas City Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 5-1 Tuesday night.

Perez is now hitting .474 (18-for-38) in his career against Verlander.

“He’s a great pitcher, and I don’t know any secret,” Perez said. “I’m just up there trying to do my job and he’s trying to do his job. Today he left a couple fastballs up, and I was able to hit them.”

Verlander (1-4) struggled in his ninth start of the season, allowing five runs on 10 hits in seven innings. He didn’t walk a batter for a career-best third straight start, but the Tigers are now 1-8 in his outings this year.

The game was overshadowed by an afternoon announcement that Dave Dombrowski was being replaced as Detroit’s general manager by his top assistant, Al Avila. In 14 years with the Tigers, Dombrowski took one of the worst franchises in the game and took it to six postseason appearances including World Series losses in 2006 and 2012.

Detroit came into the season looking for a fifth straight AL Central title, but now trail the Royals by 12 1/2 games.

“It is strange to come here and see some of their big guys gone and then to hear about Dave Dombrowski,” said Eric Hosmer, who scored twice, both on Perez RBIs. “That has to be really tough for them, especially after the last few years.”

Danny Duffy (5-5) allowed one run on five hits and four walks in seven innings, only striking out two.

“Danny was outstanding tonight,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”

After Perez drove in Kansas City’s first three runs, former Tiger Omar Infante doubled to lead off the fifth, took third on Alcides Escobar’s sacrifice fly and scored on Ben Zobrist’s sacrifice fly to deep right.

Detroit loaded the bases with one out in their half of the fifth, but Anthony Gose grounded into a force at the plate and Rajai Davis popped out.

“That was huge,” Yost said. “With that offense, you don’t want to give them anything that lets them get back into the game.”

Alex Rios increased the Royals lead to 5-0 with a bloop double in the sixth, scoring Kendrys Morales, but the Tigers got a run back in the bottom of the inning on Victor Martinez’s RBI single.

Detroit threatened again in the seventh, as Nick Castellanos led off with a triple and Jefry Marte followed with a walk. Gose grounded to third baseman Mike Moustakas, who looked Castellanos back to the base before throwing to second for the force.

Castellanos then broke for the plate, and Omar Infante threw home to easily retire him and end the threat.

“My initial reaction was that if he wanted to go to the plate I was a sitting duck,” Castellanos said. “Then when I saw that he was turning two, then I decided to go. I should have just taken off as soon as he hit it.”


Royals: Duffy continued to pitch very well since returning from the disabled list with biceps tendinits. Duffy is 3-2 with a 2.66 ERA in eight starts since returning from the injury in late June.

Tigers: LHP Kyle Lobstein (shoulder) threw on the side with Triple-A Toledo. Lobstein, who has been out since May 24, is expected to begin a rehab stint with the Mud Hens this week. … Tigers manager Brad Ausmus did not have any update on Miguel Cabrera (calf), who has begun agility drills in advance of an expected return later this month.


The teams play the second of their three-game series Wednesday afternoon, with both teams pitching deadline acquisitions. Johnny Cueto (7-6, 2.70) makes his second start for the Royals, while Matt Boyd (0-2, 14.85) will make his Tigers debut after being acquired for David Price. In Boyd’s last major-league start – the second of his career – he faced seven Red Sox without retiring a batter.


Verlander came into the game with a 31-1 record in 37 career starts where he didn’t walk a batter. His only previous loss came to the White Sox on August 11, 2006.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — As an undrafted free agent in 2013, Daren Bates figured he would have to excel on special teams if he were to land a spot on the St. Louis Rams’ roster.

The linebacker from Auburn made a quick first impression and has been an anchor on special teams that have ranked among the NFL’s best the last two seasons.

Other Rams have found prominent roles after first making the roster through special teams. Eugene Sims worked his way into the defensive line rotation and Rodney McLeod has become a starting safety. Bates burst on the scene in 2013 along with Chase Reynolds and Benny Cunningham. Last year, rookies Lamarcus Joyner and Marcus Roberson shined and figure to be in the mix in the secondary.

“They’re a little different,” special teams coach John Fassel said. “And probably like their coach, really all kind of crazy, a little whack. They’re a little different, which is good. If you’re not, then it’s probably not for you.”

In a move showing the team’s commitment to special teams, the Rams on Dec. 5 signed punter Johnny Hekker to an $18 million contract extension with $9 million guaranteed – the largest amount ever guaranteed to a punter. The extension will keep the Pro Bowler in St. Louis through 2020.

“I just want to improve,” Hekker said. “You come into camp feeling great physically, and refining technique is always something to be done. I think we’re working very, very hard and we’re quite a bit ahead of where we were in past years.”

The Rams also boast a strong kicker in Greg Zuerlein, whose field-goal range is well past 50 yards.

Fassel said special teams may go unnoticed by fans.

“There’s a lot of tricks to the trade of special teams that I think are unique to the game that we see on tape that the fans don’t see,” Fassel said. “So we practice those little things.

“The more reps and experience we have doing it, the better we get. So, we’re only going into, really to me our third year as a group. And we play against teams that have more experience than that. So, hopefully in year three, four, five, six, we’ll really take off.”

The unit could be even more dangerous with Isaiah Pead returning from a torn ACL. Pead’s speed gives the Rams another option alongside Cunningham on kick return.

More than anything, the unit has a mindset.

“For the guys in the building, this is life and death,” long snapper Jake McQuaide said.

Though McQuaide is entering his fifth season as the Rams long snapper, like Bates, the veteran doesn’t allow himself to get too comfortable.

“As soon as you feel like you’ve made it, that’s when you’re out,” McQuaide said. “Just kind of pay rent every single day at my locker and just try to be the best out there doing it.”

Bates admitted that the special teamers are different.

“Inside these lines you have to turn a switch, have a different mentality,” Bates said. “You can’t bring a basketball game back on the football field. It won’t work.”

NOTES: DE Chris Long (stiff back) practiced for the first time after being held out the first three days. . CB Trovon Reed was signed and WR Devon Wylie was cut . Dave Peacock, the head of the St. Louis Stadium Taskforce, attended the open practice with his two sons.

by Dave Skretta, AP

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid keeps his eye on practice during NFL football training camp in St. Joseph, Mo., Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid keeps his eye on practice during NFL football training camp in St. Joseph, Mo., Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have demonstrated a willingness under general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid to give players who have run into trouble a second chance.

They’ve also proven there’s no such thing as a third.

Take the case of Justin Cox, a defensive back from Mississippi State. He went undrafted after missing the final three games and the Orange Bowl last season following a domestic violence arrest – a charge that was ultimately dropped – and the Chiefs gave him a shot. But when Cox was arrested again this summer, it took them less than 24 hours to send him packing.

“I wouldn’t say there’s a hard and fast policy because every situation is different,” Chiefs Chairman Clark Hunt said. “It’s up to John and his staff to do the research when a player has an incident and make a judgment call whether it’s going to work out. That particular situation, it didn’t, but John is very aware we don’t want guys who are going to be a problem.”

The Chiefs do want players who can help them win, though, and therein lies the balancing act that all NFL teams face: Who do you take a risk on? When do take a pass?

In the three years since Dorsey and Reid have been in charge, the Chiefs have added numerous players with checkered pasts, and so far they’ve mostly steered clear of trouble.

Tight end Travis Kelce was their third-round pick a couple years ago, even though he had been suspended in college for violating team rules. Not only has Kelce developed into one of the most dynamic tight ends in the game, he has also matured into a locker room leader.

“A little bit more accountability,” Kelce replied, when asked how he’s changed.

The Chiefs also took a chance on cornerback Phillip Gaines in last year’s draft. He had run into trouble at Rice, but his size and speed made him an intriguing prospect. Fast-forward to this year’s training camp and Gaines is competing for one of the starting jobs.

But perhaps never have the Chiefs taken on so many players with spotty pasts as this past season, beginning with the draft and continuing right on through free agency.

Their first-round pick, Marcus Peters, was thrown off his team at Washington because he could not get along with new coach Chris Peterson. But the Chiefs insist that they researched the star cornerback, who might’ve been a top-10 pick had he stayed out of trouble, and came away confident that Peters had learned from his mistakes and was unlikely to repeat them.

“It was an emotional situation and he didn’t handle it the right way. I think he’s learned from it, just from our experience with him,” Reid said. “He was up front with us. He said, `I goofed,’ and that’s half the battle.”

Defensive lineman David Irving has also acknowledged his mistakes, a big reason Kansas City was willing to give him a shot as an undrafted free agent.

The former Iowa State standout was suspended after he was charged with domestic abuse against the mother of his child, a charge that was later dropped. Then, during a riot near campus during a student-run festival, Irving was photographed holding a stop sign that he argued was handed to him by another person. He was charged with theft, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief.

When he did make it onto the field, Irving was one of the best defensive linemen in the Big 12, and he could help the Chiefs absorb the loss of nose tackle Dontari Poe to injury.

“We knew he was a good football player,” Reid said. “He had some issues, obviously. John Dorsey and his crew, I thought, did a nice job getting in there and making sure with him that he would fit in here and that he kind of had things going in the right direction.”

Dorsey and Reid also thought that Cox was headed in the right direction, only to proven wrong. But that is the tightrope they are willing to walk – star potential on one side of a very thing line, and more trouble looming just on the other.

“John and I talk about it, and he knows that we want to be a leader in the NFL,” Hunt said, “not a team that has a lot of guys that are getting in trouble.”

NOTES: Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Suttons said Tuesday that LB Derrick Johnson “is back to where he was” before his season-ending Achilles injury. … Gaines left practice early with an injury. It did not appear to be serious. … WR L’Damian Washington, who signed with the Chiefs on Monday, participated in his first practice.

TORONTO (AP) — Toronto pitcher Aaron Sanchez was suspended for three games and manager John Gibbons for one for their roles in Sunday’s brawling game between the Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals.

Major League Baseball on Tuesday also fined Sanchez an undisclosed sum for intentionally throwing at Alcides Escobar with warnings in place during the top of the eighth inning of Toronto’s 7-6 win. Sanchez contends his pitch just got away.

Gibbons was to miss Monday night’s home game against Minnesota. He was disciplined for coming back on the field when the benches cleared following Sanchez’s pitch. Gibbons already had been ejected in the seventh inning.

Sanchez’s suspension was to start Monday night. If he appeals, his penalties will be held until the matter is settled.

Sanchez was ejected by umpire Jim Wolf, who had put a warning in place in the first inning when Royals starter Edison Volquez hit Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson.

“If I wanted to send a message I would’ve sent a message to their big guys,” Sanchez said after the game. “I think it was kind of crap, but we’ll move on. We got a `W.'”

The Blue Jays did not like the way Wolf handled the game. After issuing the warning in the first, the Jays were upset when reliever Ryan Madson wasn’t tossed for hitting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in the forearm in the seventh inning.

Donaldson got buzzed in the next at-bat, which led to Gibbons’ ejection.

“I have a lot of respect for him behind the plate. I don’t think he made a lot of the right decisions today,” Donaldson, referring to Wolf, said after the game. “That’s what you end up getting out of it – games like that, you get bench clearing, when it never even had to go that route.”

by Margaret Stafford, AP

In this Aug. 1, 2015,  photo, Liberal's Gavin Wehby holds Bee Jays batboy Kaiser Carlile moments after the 9-year-old was accidentally hit in the head during a National Baseball Congress World Series game in Wichita, Kan. Kaiser, who was wearing a helmet, was struck by a follow-through swing near the on-deck circle. He died on Sunday. (Earl Watt/Leader & Times via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

In this Aug. 1, 2015, photo, Liberal’s Gavin Wehby holds Bee Jays batboy Kaiser Carlile moments after the 9-year-old was accidentally hit in the head during a National Baseball Congress World Series game in Wichita, Kan. Kaiser, who was wearing a helmet, was struck by a follow-through swing near the on-deck circle. He died on Sunday. (Earl Watt/Leader & Times via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

(Kansas City) (AP) – The National Baseball Congress suspended using batboys and girls during its World Series games in Kansas following the death of a 9-year-old boy who was accidentally hit in the head with a bat during a game.

Kaiser Carlile died Sunday, a day after he was hit by a follow-through swing near the on-deck circle during the Liberal Bee Jays’ game in Wichita. The boy was wearing a helmet.

During an emotional news conference Monday, Kaiser was remembered as an energetic, happy boy who loved being part of the Bee Jays. Manager Adam Anderson and several players said he inspired them to always work hard, have fun and win.

“I can’t get over how hard he worked, and he was having fun doing it,” said outfielder Gavin Wehby, who plays for Nicholls State. “I was blessed to have called him a friend, a teammate and most of all a brother.”

The NBC’s general manager, Kevin Jenks, said Kaiser would be honored throughout the tournament until the championship game Saturday. The honors will include having the boy’s initials on the scoreboard marquee and fundraisers for his family during the games. The team also is wearing wristbands and T-shirts with Kaiser’s initials.

Kaiser’s father, Chad Carlile, said his son was competitive but also just loved the game of baseball. He said Kaiser cherished a pair of shoes and a white bracelet the team had given him. He said his son’s organs will be donated.

“There is no anger towards what happened,” he said. “This is something that was obviously a tragedy. I want no bad comments … He was happy. He loved it and the team we are obviously for loved him as well.”

The tournament has been in Wichita since 1931 and this is the first time such a situation has occurred, Jenks said.

“We have over 900 participants coming into the World Series every year,” Jenks said. “You never expect anything like this to happen.”

The Bee Jays played and won after Kaiser was hurt Saturday night and won again on Sunday, making it to the semifinals. His parents attended Sunday’s game and supported the team’s decision to continue playing “because they know that’s what Kaiser would want us to do,” Anderson said.

Anderson said the death has hit his teammates hard. He said the team has been comforted by support from across the country and the world and its staying together to cope with the loss.

“My biggest message to them is nobody is going through this alone,” Anderson said. “We’re here to support each other and support Kaiser’s family. This is not one person’s burden to bear. We’ll have to bear it together.”

The city of Wichita owns Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, where the accident took place, and is deciding whether to investigate the accident, Ken Evans, the city’s strategic communications director.

Third baseman Brady Cox, who plays for Texas-Arlington, said he will always remember Kaiser encouraging him even when Cox was having a bad day on the field. He recalled one game when the boy was in the dugout even though he didn’t feel well and encouraged Cox not to feel bad after he had gone 0-for-2. In his next bat, Cox hit a homerun.

“He changed my attitude on the game,” Cox said. “I’ll never pick up a baseball and not think of that … I’ll always remember him saying `It’s all right, you’ve got more bats left. I’ll never step on the field without thinking of him.”