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Simple change has big payoff for Moustakas

13h

The Kansas City Royals are benefiting big-time from a change in hitting approach by third baseman Mike Moustakas.

Moustakas tied a career-high with four more hits in the Royals’ win over Corey Kluber and the Indians on Monday night. Three of the hits came against Kluber, giving him 11 career hits in 25 at-bats against the reigning Cy Young Award winner. Moustakas is now hitting .342 this season.

Moustakas is a hitter who frequently faces defensive shifts by opponents because of his pull tendencies, but he has taken a different tack this season.

Over the previous two seasons, Moustakas hit 22 percent of his batted balls to the opposite field.

This season, he has put 68 balls in play and 28 of them have gone to the opposite field (41 percent).

More notable is the payoff. He has 14 opposite-field hits this season, including three on Monday. He totaled 18 opposite-field hits in 140 games last season.

He's also excelling with two strikes. His two two-strike hits against Kluber raised his batting average in two-strike situations to .355