Sunday, April 10, 2016

Royals sock it to Twins with first three homers

The Royals, the last team in the Majors to hit a homer, erupted for three to back the strong season debut by right-hander Ian Kennedy in a 7-0 victory over the winless Twins on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain went back-to-back on consecutive pitches in the fourth inning -- the Royals' first back-to-back homers since Eric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales did so last Sept. 29 against the White Sox. Morales also homered in the sixth.
Kennedy, who was signed to a five-year deal this offseason, worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up five hits while walking one and striking out seven.
"Everything stood out with him," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The way he banged the zone, down in the zone. Just a great outing tonight by him."
Left-hander Tommy Milone started for the Twins, who lost their fifth straight, and was perfect for three innings. But after giving up two homers in the fourth, he was let down by his defense in the fifth when shortstop Eduardo Escobar committed two errors, leading to two unearned runs.
Chien-Ming Wang pitched a scoreless ninth for the Royals, his first Major League appearance since 2013.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Back-to-back jacks: After Milone had retired the first 10 hitters he faced, Moustakas smashed a drive into the right-field bullpen. Before the crowd had even settled back into its seats, Cain, with his classic lean-back swing, parked one nearly to the Hall of Fame building beyond the left-field bullpen.
"I don't think we care about the homers," Moustakas said. "This isn't a homer park, especially with the way the weather is right now. And we win games without hitting homers. But we're not trying to hit homers. Like we said last year: Just keep the line moving."
Escobar's two errors hurt Milone: With one out and a runner on in the fifth, Omar Infantehit a routine grounder to Escobar, who booted it to allow Infante to reach. After the Royals loaded the bases, Escobar caught a liner from Alcides Escobar, but threw wildly to first base to allow a run to score. A second run came around on a single from Moustakas that knocked Milone from the game.
"Whatever happens behind me, I have to come back and make pitches," Milone said. "It's always frustrating, but as a pitcher, regardless of what's happening, you have to shrug it off and make pitches, and I wasn't able to do that."
Paulo is back: Royals right fielder Paulo Orlando got his first start of the season and he didn't disappoint. Orlando singled three times, drove in a run and scored a run.
"It felt good to get back out there," Orlando said. "I wanted to stay aggressive -- I think I swung at the first pitch the first three times up. It was good."
Perkins sees action: With Minnesota's winless start, closer Glen Perkins didn't appear in the first four games, but he pitched in the eighth to get some work. Perkins loaded the bases, but he escaped the jam by striking out Hosmer.
QUOTABLE
"I like hitting him two. That's enough." -- Yost, on why Moustakas hits second in his lineup
"The first four [games] were competitive and tonight everything kind of went the way it did. We were having trouble getting going offensively again and we made some mistakes defensively to open the floodgates. So it's disappointing we didn't play in a more competitive game." -- Twins manager Paul Molitor, on his club's fifth straight loss
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Twins fell to 0-5 for the first time since the franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961. They had previously lost their first four games of a season three times before this year, but had never lost five in a row to open a season. More >
SANTANA LANDS ON DL
Twins center fielder Danny Santana left in the sixth inning with a right hamstring strain after trying to run down a deep drive to center from Salvador Perez. Santana, who had started three straight games at all three outfield spots, was replaced in center by Byron Buxton. Santana was placed on the 15-day disabled list after the game, and top prospect Max Kepler was recalled from Triple-A Rochester. More >
WHAT'S NEXT
Twins: Right-hander Ricky Nolasco, who won the fifth-starter competition in Spring Training, is set to make his season debut against the Royals on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. CT. He struggled the last two years with a 5.64 ERA, but he's healthy now, and the Twins are hopeful he'll be able to bounce back..
Royals: Right-hander Edinson Volquez will take the mound against the Twins when the Royals wrap up the homestand on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. CT. Volquez pitched six shutout innings against the Mets on Opening Night last Sunday, giving up two hits while striking out five.

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