A's to face KC in emotional home opener for Royals

23. Kansas City Royals

The Royals played their first home game today since 25-year-old starting pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a January auto crash in his native Dominican Republic.

Kennedy allowed just two hits and two walks in six innings on a day where the Royals had a pregame tribute to Yordano Ventura, the Royals pitcher who was killed in a January auto crash.

An emotional moment came when Alex Gordon and Danny Duffy led a group of Royals onto the field carrying a banner with the words "ACE 30" honoring the late Yordano Ventura. The young pitcher, an instrumental part of back-to-back World Series trips, was killed in an off-season auto crash in the Dominican Republic.

"I feel very happy, but mostly thankful to God to be here with the Kansas City Royals for Opening Day and for throwing the first pitch".

The Kansas City Royals have yet to find a groove in the early going which isn't alarming unless the trend continues.

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Before the home opener against the Oakland Athletics began, the Royals released hundreds of balloons to the sky, kicking off a stirring tribute to Ventura. And in the other lockers, there are framed pictures of Ventura with each of his respective teammates - reminders impossible for them to miss. A saxophonist played "Amazing Grace" during a video board display of Ventura on and off the field. "It's still heartbreaking to a lot of guys in there".

The mother of the 25-year-old Ventura, Marisol Hernandez, threw out the first pitch before the game against the Oakland A's. She then delivered the pitch to her son's longtime catcher, Salvador Perez.

"There's nothing that helps you prepare for something like this", Yost said. We just have to play for him.

The Royals (2-5) and Athletics (4-4) will resume their three game series on Wednesday night. "It makes you realize how lucky you are and not to take anything for granted, because it can all be taken away".

Cotton (1-1) threw seven scoreless innings, walked three and struck out six, including the side in the fourth.

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