Twins rough up Royals
By Dan Myers
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins erupted for three runs in the fourth inning and five more in the sixth in a 10-2 win over the Kansas City Royals Tuesday at Target Field.
Up by four runs after five innings, the Twins put the game away with a marathon sixth inning, batting around to take a nine-run lead.
Shortstop Eduardo Nunez led the offensive charge for the Twins with three hits, including a solo home run to lead off the sixth and an RBI single in the fourth. Designated hitter Kendrys Morales, catcher Kurt Suzuki and left fielder Chris Parmelee also had multi-hit games for the Twins, who had lost six of seven entering play Tuesday.
Right-hander Ricky Nolasco picked up the victory, tossing six innings of one run ball, allowing eight hits, walking none and striking out three in improving to 5-6.
Royals righty James Shields allowed at least four runs in his third straight start, giving up five runs (four earned) over five innings, dropping to 8-4. It was Shields shortest start of the season.
A first-inning double through the left-center-field gap by Parmelee drove in the first run of the game to make it 1-0 Twins.
Kansas City tied the score in the top of the second on an RBI single by third baseman Mike Moustakas before an error by left fielder Alex Gordon helped the Twins re-take the lead in the third.
With two outs and a runner at first, Parmelee skied a fly ball into shallow left field. Moustakas retreated on the play while Gordon came in before the two made just enough contact to throw Gordon off. He bobbled the ball and nearly hung on, but the ball dropped to the ground and gave the Twins an extra out. Morales made the Royals pay with an infield single deep into the hole at short, driving in one.
Minnesota took advantage of another Royals miscue in the fourth inning to break the game open. After back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases, Nunez hit a soft bloop toward first that was fielded by first baseman Eric Hosmer, who faked a throw home before deciding to get the out at first. Shields didn’t cover the bag and everyone was safe, scoring one. First baseman Joe Mauer, who had struck out swinging in each of his first two at-bats, followed with a double down the left-field line to drive in two more.
Mauer appeared hurt on the play but remained in the game until the end of the inning before being lifted. He was diagnosed with a right oblique strain and will be re-evaluated on Wednesday.
NOTES: Minnesota 2B Brian Dozier and LF Josh Willingham were not in the starting lineup, but both were fine, according to manager Ron Gardenhire. The skipper said he simply wanted to start as many lefties as possible against Kansas City RHP James Shields. ... Royals OF Nori Aoki, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin, fielded fly balls on the field before the game. Aoki is eligible to be activated July 6, but manager Ned Yost said he doesn’t expect Aoki to return during the current nine-game road trip. ... Royals OF Raul Ibanez made his first start with the team since signing Monday. He hit .157 with three homers and 21 RBIs in 51 games with the Los Angeles Angels earlier this season.