The Twins scored 10 runs and pounded out 15 hits Tuesday in a
10-2 win over the Kansas City Royals at Target Field.
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.
Every Twins starter had at least one hit, and only Josh Willingham,
who entered the game in the fifth inning, was held off the board.
"The offense came alive," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "A lot
of good things happened, Nunez and Parmelee at the top. Ricky
[Nolasco] did a nice job battling early. I've been saying we needed
to score some runs to take some pressure off those guys and tonight
we did that."
Right-hander Nolasco picked up the victory, tossing six innings of
one-run ball, allowing eight hits, walking none and striking out
three while 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
and dropping to 8-4.
Up by four runs after five innings, the Twins put the game away with
a marathon sixth inning, batting around to score five times and take
a nine-run lead. Nunez hit his third homer of the year to start the
barrage, and the Twins took advantage of a fielding error by second
baseman Omar Infante, also stringing together four hits. Suzuki drew
a bases-loaded walk and center fielder Sam Fuld drove in two with a
Royals reliever Michael Mariot was charged with five runs in
one-third of an inning, although only two were earned. He gave up
three hits and walked two. Francisley Bueno pitched the final 2 2/3
innings, doing yeoman's work out of the bullpen ahead of the series
finale Wednesday afternoon.
"Mariot really struggled to throw strikes," Royals manager Ned Yost
said. "Bueno did a phenomenal job not making us use [Aaron] Crow,
making us use [Kelvin] Herrera in that situation. He went above the
call of duty."
The Twins also posted a crooked number in the fourth, taking
advantage of a Royals miscue. 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. But Shields didn't cover the bag
and everyone was safe while allowing a run to score. 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
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.
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"I've been battling that area for about a week now," Mauer said.
"I've been stiff, making it loose and everything has been fine, but
today, just on that one swing, ball down the line, it felt like
someone hit me pretty hard right there."
After getting the support he needed in the fourth, Nolasco worked
out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fifth before finishing on a high
note with his second 1-2-3 inning in the sixth. The quality start
was Nolasco's first since a May 30 outing against the New York
Yankees and his first victory since June 4 against the Milwaukee
"Just try to not do too much," Nolasco said. "It's always nice to
get a ton of runs. The offense did a great job scoring runs and
making my job a little easier."
For Shields, Monday's outing was his shortest of the season. Despite
his recent struggles, the loss was his first since a rough outing
May 2 against the Detroit Tigers in which he allowed eight runs in 6
1/3 innings of work.
"I have good bullpen sessions, then I go out there and I feel really
good. Tonight, I thought I actually made some really good pitches.
They found a lot of holes today," Shields said. "It's definitely
frustrating that I'm not getting outs. I'm letting my team down and
not getting my job done."
Hosmer had four hits -- all singles -- and Royals third baseman Mike
Moustakas had an RBI single in the second inning, which briefly tied
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.
Willingham entered the game in the fifth inning when Joe Mauer left
with an oblique injury. ... 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.
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