Greg Holland named to AL All-Star team

For the first time since 1988, Royals are sending three players to the All-Star Game

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The last time the Royals had three All-Stars, they were only three years removed from a World Series championship. So, yeah, it's been a while.

Until now.

Closer Greg Holland was named as a replacement on the AL All-Star squad Sunday, joining left fielder Alex Gordon and catcher Salvador Perez. Holland replaces Seattle Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, who started Sunday and will not participate in the game.

This will be the first All-Star Game appearance for all three Royals.

Kansas City has sent at least three players to the All-Star Game 11 times in club history, but this is the first time since 1988, when George Brett made his final appearance and was joined by infielder Kurt Stillwell and pitcher Mark Gubicza.

Holland, 27, has been perhaps the league's most dominant closer since May 30, when he started a run of 15 straight successful save opportunities. He has posted a 0.95 ERA during that stretch, allowing just two earned runs in 19 innings and allowing opponents a miniscule .111 batting average (7 for 63). He has struck out the side six times and entered Sunday's game against Cleveland leading the majors in strikeouts per batter faced (.444) and strikeouts per nine innings (15.43).

On the season, Holland has 22 saves in 24 opportunities.