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APTOPIX Tigers Royals Baseball

Kansas City center fielder Bubba Starling dives but can't catch a fly ball hit by Detroit's Victor Reyes during the fifth inning July 12 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

Bubba Starling kept his plan of attack simple with his team down two in the ninth inning. He wanted to “see it up” and get a good pitch, according to The Kansas City Star.

Good plan, Bubba. He pulled a 2-2 fastball from Cleveland closer Brad Hand over the left-field wall and into the waiting glove of a spectator decked out in Kansas City Royals gear for the first major-league home run of his brief career.

“I missed a few early on his fastball and wanted to stay on it in case he tried to blow one by me,” said Starling, according to The Star. “I stayed on it and put a good swing on it.”

Unfortunately for Starling and his teammates, that solo homer only pulled the Royals within a run as they fell 5-4 in front of an announced 23,564 in the final game of a three-game set at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Hand, voted to his third consecutive All-Star Game this summer, converted his American League-leading 27th save in 28 tries. So, Starling's first home run was memorable in that sense. More than a few Nebraska fans surely feel good for Bubba, who was a member of the Huskers' 2011 football recruiting class before choosing to sign with the Royals organization, which made him the fifth overall pick.

His road to the majors was long and bumpy. Nice to see him turn on one.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.

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Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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