Twins slam Royals to avoid 100 with today's game left
By Jon Krawczynski
AP Baseball Writer
MINNEAPOLIS -- Rene Tosoni hit a grand slam and Chris Parmelee also went deep to lift the Minnesota Twins to a 7-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
Anthony Swarzak (4-7) gave up two runs on 10 hits with six strikeouts in 6Zc innings for the Twins (62-99), who are hoping to avoid becoming just the second team in franchise history to lose 100 games in a season.
Sean O'Sullivan (2-6) gave up six runs on nine hits with one strikeout in five innings for the Royals. Johnny Giavotella had two doubles and a triple and Salvador Perez added two hits and an RBI for Kansas City.
O'Sullivan gave up three straight singles to start the sixth before leaving. Tosoni hit Vin Mazzaro's first pitch well into the right field seats for a 7-2 lead.
The Royals scored twice in the ninth off Twins closer Joe Nathan before Eric Hosmer struck out to end the game.
Parmelee had two hits to raise his average to .351, continuing his impressive showing since being called up from Double-A New Britain. His 427-foot homer to right-center field tied the game 1-1 in the second inning.
Trevor Plouffe had three hits while Ben Revere and Denard Span had RBI-triples for the Twins. Revere tried to turn his into an inside-the-park home run in the fifth, but he was thrown out by Alcides Escobar at home after running through coach Steve Liddle's stop sign.
The big talk for the Twins entering this season-ending series was avoiding the 100-loss mark. Manager Ron Gardenhire and several players openly admitting to that being the only goal left in what has been a dreadful season.
The Twins have only lost 100 games one other time in their proud history, back in 1982 when they went 60-102. But this one seemingly came out of the nowhere.
The Twins won the previous two AL Central titles and came into this season brimming with confidence. But injuries to practically every starter on the roster, including stars Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jim Thome and Jason Kubel, were too much to overcome.
They sunk to the bottom of the American League and started the day a full 10 games behind the improving Royals for last place in the division.
The setback slightly stunted some nice momentum the Royals had been building as the season comes to a close. They had won 11 of their previous 14 games, getting promising performances from a bevy of highly touted youngsters including Mike Moustakas, Hosmer and Escobar.
Moustakas had two hits in the game.
NOTES: Tosoni's slam was the first by a Twins player at Target Field in the two-year history of the park. ... The Royals traded 1B Kila Ka'aihue to the Oakland Athletics for minor league RHP Ethan Hollingsworth. He went 6-5 with a 3.61 ERA in 17 appearances at Double-A Midland and was assigned to Triple-A Omaha. ... The Twins claimed RHP Esmerling Vasquez off waivers from Arizona. Vasquez went 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in 31 relief appearances for the Diamondbacks. ... The Twins will send RHP Carl Pavano (8-13, 4.48 ERA) to the mound for the season finale on Wednesday. Pavano is 1-2 with a 4.45 ERA in four starts against the Royals this season. Pavano also started on opening day for the Twins. ... The Royals will pitch LHP Bruce Chen (12-8, 3.98). A victory in the finale would give Chen a career high 13 wins on the season. The last time the crafty lefty faced the Twins, he pitched eight shutout innings in a 4-0 win on Sept. 13.