MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Kansas City Royals have used last year's World Series appearance, this year's hot start and some early season fireworks to catapult the team toward a potentially record-breaking All-Star game.
Seven players on the AL champion City Royals are on track to start in the July 14 game at Cincinnati in what would be a record total for one team.
Catcher Salvador Perez, first baseman Eric Hosmer, shortstop Alcides Escobar, third baseman Mike Moustakas and designated hitter Kendrys Morales all led their positions in voting totals released Monday. Lorenzo Cain was first among AL outfielders, with teammate Alex Gordon third, behind AL MVP Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.
''It's really exciting,'' Hosmer said before the Royals opened a three-game series at Minnesota. ''Just to see your name on the ballot is exciting enough. Then to realize there's only three weeks left in the voting and a lot of us are at the top of it, it's really cool and really special for a lot of us.''
Kansas City's Omar Infante was second among second basemen with 2.65 million votes, 150,000 behind AL batting champion Jose Altuve of Houston.
Major League Baseball said the record for most starters from one team is held by the 1939 New York Yankees with six: catcher Bill Dickey, center fielder Joe DiMaggio, second baseman Joe Gordon, third baseman Red Rolfe, pitcher Red Ruffing and left fielder George Selkirk.
Fans elected seven Reds to start the 1957 game in St. Louis, but after concluding half the fan ballots came from Cincinnati, baseball commissioner Ford Frick added Willie Mays and Hank Aaron to the NL lineup in place of Reds outfielders Gus Bell and Wally Post.
Voting runs through July 2, and starters are to be announced the weekend of July 4-5.
''It's just a testament to our fans, how special our fans are, that they've really taken the time to get out and vote for these guys,'' Royals manager Ned Yost. ''Seven guys even shocked me today a little bit. We still have a ways to go but so far it's been very encouraging for our boys.''
Perez leads all vote-getters with 4,419,620 votes, Cain received 4,211,472 and Moustakas had 4,046,726, the only three players to top 4 million to this point.
''Obviously a lot of this is people in Kansas City and our fan base, but when you're talking about a guy like Salvi or Cain having 4 million votes, I think it goes a lot farther than just Kansas City,'' Hosmer said. ''They're a big help. Everyone around country is really taking notice to how we play the game and respecting how we do it.''
The long-struggling Royals ended a 28-year playoff drought and advanced all the way to the World Series, where they lost to San Francisco in seven games. They started this season 7-0, were 28-14 on May 23 and also drew headlines by brawling with the Chicago White Sox and emptying the benches three straight days against the Oakland Athletics in April.
''It definitely helped and the beginning of the year we got off to a good start and also had some excitement in some other ways,'' Hosmer said with a smile. ''That definitely drew some more viewers and that had a lot to do with what's going on with the All-Star votes.