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                                      KANSAS CITY, Mo. Cheap Wholesale Jerseys . -- Alex Gordon has been battling most of the season to raise his average above .200. Now he is the hottest hitter on the American Leagues hottest team.Gordon hit a grand slam, Dillon Gee pitched seven strong innings and the Kansas City Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 8-1 on Thursday night.The Royals have won five straight and eight of nine to move above .500 for the first time since July 22. Royals starting pitchers have a 1.61 ERA in the five-game winning streak, allowing 23 hits and six earned runs in 33 2/3 innings, while striking out 27 and walking seven.Gordon, who was hitting .199 with 16 RBI on Aug. 9, extended his hitting streak to a season-best nine games, hiking his average to .219. Gordon has homered in three consecutive games.I was probably trying to do too much, trying to get out of a slump, which its hard not to do, Gordon said. Im just trying to stay with the basics and put together good at-bats and luckily its been happening a little bit more lately.Gee (5-6) picked up the Royals first victory from a No. 5 starter since May 31. The Royals are 9-21 is games started by the fifth starter.I felt like I was throwing everything pretty good tonight, Gee said. I had command of the off-speed stuff and the fastball command got better throughout the game. I just felt like a lot more free and easy. The curveball was good, the slider was good. It was just a good night.Gee, who is 3-6 in 10 starts, gave up a home run to Brian Dozier on his third pitch. It was Doziers 14th career leadoff homer and his 27th for the season. He has homered in five straight games against the Royals.That was the only run Gee would allow as he limited the Twins to four singles after the home run, walked one and struck out seven. Gees seven innings were a season high.He didnt throw too many heaters, Twins left fielder Robbie Grossman said. He really kept us off balance, threw his off-speed for strikes. That was a key for him.Twins right-hander Tyler Duffey (8-9) retired the first 10 hitters, but only one of the final seven batters he faced before being removed by manager Paul Molitor. After Cheslor Cuthberts single with one out in the third, Duffey walked three and hit a batter with Gordons third career grand slam punctuating the inning. Duffey was replaced by Michael Tonkin after 3 2/3 innings, allowing five runs.I think I tried to adjust by being better, and ultimately being worse, Duffey said. Just kind of missing arm side with a fastball, then I end up yanking a curveball and then the one that Gordon hit out wasnt necessarily a good pitch to hit. It just went right into his swing path. And then, giving up a grand slam, thats what happens when you walk a guy and hit a guy. Thats a really good lineup. I gave them some chances and they took full advantage of it.The Royals added three runs in the eighth with Kendrys Morales and Eric Hosmer both driving in a run. The other run scored on a throwing error by center fielder Eddie Rosario.Cuthbert had three of the Royals seven hits, bringing his hit total to 100, which ranks second among AL rookies.TRAINERS ROOMRoyals: LHP Jason Vargas, who has not pitched this season after Tommy John surgery in July 2015, made his third rehab start Wednesday, giving up three runs and four hits, including two home runs, in 2 1/3 innings for Northwest Arkansas against Corpus Christi. He threw 42 pitches, 27 for strikes, while striking out one and walking none.UP NEXTTwins: RHP Jose Berrios yielded six runs, eight hits and a walk in two innings in his previous start, a 15-7 loss to Houston.Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez is 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA in three 2016 starts against the Twins. Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping . Supported by three-run homers from Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos, the young right-hander went seven strong innings in the Washington Nationals 8-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night. Authentic Wholesale Jerseys . - Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie never doubted he would bring back coach Dennis Allen for a third year despite back-to-back 4-12 records. http://www.wholesalejerseys.info/ . Burris threw two TD passes, including a key 15-yard fourth-quarter strike to Bakari Grant that effectively countered a Toronto comeback bid and led Hamilton to a 33-19 victory. Haleigh Washington cites one obsession in her life, and its not volleyball.The Penn State middle blocker loves them all -- big books, little books, thick books, thin books -- from Dantes Inferno, on her bucket list for years, to childhood favorite Go, Dog, Go! Her most recent title: Barbara Kingsolvers allegorical novel The Poisonwood Bible.I love to cuddle up with a good book, feel the pages and crack the spine, the junior philosophy major said. I love having books all around me and having the possibility of sitting down and leaving wherever I am to escape into a book. As much as I love books, I love reading even more. When I get obsessed with a book, its pretty much all I talk about.So Washington was given a challenge: Talk about the Nittany Lions upcoming season using some of her most beloved titles as reference points.Penn State, winner of a record seven NCAA titles, ranks No. 9 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association preseason poll. Its an atypical spot for one of the most storied teams in the sport, but its not surprising. Last year came to an unsatisfying end for the two-time defending champion, swept by Hawaii in the regional semifinals; Penn State had started the season ranked No. 1 and had never lost to the Rainbow Wahine. It marked the first time since 2011 that Penn State failed to advance to the elite eight or better.The sour taste of that defeat -- and the speech that coach Russ Rose made afterward noting that 28-6 is a record most teams celebrate -- fuels these early weeks of volleyball in State College, Washington said.The physical and emotional toll that goes into three-a-days remind me of The Things They Carried, she said, referring to the Tim OBrien novel on the pride and sacrifice of Vietnam soldiers and the loads they bear, both physical and emotional.When you go to Penn State, the expectation is final four, national championship every year, she said. When youre 28-6 at Penn State, that is the sky falling.Washington watched the Hawaii players celebrate as she walked off the court in Des Moines, Iowa. She knew it was the culmination of a season in which Penn State underperformed.The worst part about it was we almost thought it was supposed to happen, she said. We got what was coming to us and realized we lost because we didnt work hard enough, and thats a horrible thing to come out of a Penn Staters mouth. Thats not what we stand for.No book comes to mind for that reference, she said, but I can compare it easily to a TV show. Its like How I Met Your Mother. That show started great, was OK in the middle and the ending sucked. That was our season: great start, good middle, horrible ending.Rose agreed that his team, which opens Friday at home against West Virginia, faded down the stretch, noting many of his younger players were worn down by the grind of the long season. As for work ethic, he added, Sometimes people dont want to hear the truth when theyre in the moment. They think theyre working really hard and doing everything they can, and in hinndsight, when you have time to step back and assess your body of work, you make a declaration of Maybe I could have done more. Stitched Cheap Jerseys. Reassessing was enough to make Washington, who won it all in 2014 as the Big Ten freshman of the year, hungry to restore glory to Happy Valley. She is excited by the early chemistry of the 2016 team, comparing it to yet another of her favorite reads, The Hunger Games series.That trilogy of books, she said, is without a standout chapter -- its a consistently strong read from beginning to end.Lamenting Penn States lack of steadiness a year ago, she said this years team blends well as a group and understands how crucial it is to compete at the same high level regardless of the circumstances. Thats what will be needed, she said, when the conference schedule gears up, particularly during a late-October stretch when the Nittany Lions play three road games -- Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota -- in a week.Without Micha Hancock or Megan Courtney this season, these Nittany Lions, she said, dont boast a Katniss Everdeen-type superstar.Were all just one great collective unit, she said.That includes junior outside hitters Ali Frantti, an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) honorable mention All-American last year, and Simone Lee, who closed out 2015 starting 18 of 21 matches. Both, Rose said, will play larger roles this year along with middle blocker Heidi Thelen. Lefty junior Abby Detering will bring an attacking mentality to the setter position, and prize recruit Kendall White could start right away at libero or be a significant back-row sub.Then, of course, theres Washington, a reigning first team All-American, whose .442 hitting efficiency ranked third nationally. Shes a player who Rose said is among the most engaging kids Ive ever coached.The 6-foot-3 star from Doherty, Colorado, was part of a 2014 signing class -- along with Frantti, Thelen and Lee -- that was considered the best in the nation.Washington returns with a stronger serve and improved blocking in addition to more consistent back-row play. My hitting ability is getting better, too, she said. Offensively Im stronger, but the good news is I still have room to grow.So, too, do her teammates, and Washington alludes to a final book regarding her expectations for a season in which nine Big Ten teams are ranked in the initial poll, including three -- Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin -- among the top five.When I think how I want it to end, I think of The Help, Washington said, referring to Kathryn Stocketts debut novel set in the 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi. Its a book with the perfect closure -- not what youd expect to happen, but the ending sums up the book entirely. Whatever happens will be the perfect ending for this team -- whether that be a Big Ten championship, a final four run or maybe ... an NCAA championship.Now that would be storybook. 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