KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 5: Delmon Young #21 of the Minnesota Twins is congratulated by Drew Butera #41 and Alexi Casilla #12 after scoring a run in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium on June 5, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)

Twins At Royals: Minnesota Completes Sweep With 6-0 Victory

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6-0 Victory Gives Twins Four-Game Sweep Over Royals

No Mauer, no Morneau, no Kubel, no Thome, no Span. . .no problem?

It appeared so for the Minnesota Twins on Sunday afternoon, in any case, and Brian Duensing put together eight solid innings as the Minnesota Twins won their season-best fourth consecutive game as the Twins defeated the Royals 6-0 to complete a four-game sweep at Kauffman Stadium.

In his eight innings of work, Duensing scattered six hits, all of which were singles, while walking only one and striking out four. The victory for him today snapped a winless streak that stretched nearly six weeks. His last victory prior to today came back on April 23 against the Cleveland Indians. His record for the year is now 3-5.

The Twins got things going early in this one, loading the bases with one out thanks to a single by Ben Revere, an error on Royals' first baseman Eric Hosmer, and a walk to Danny Valencia, with a pop out my Michael Cuddyer happening between the error and the walk. Delmon Young then grounded into a fielder's choice that allowed Revere to score as Valencia was forced out at second base. After a walk to Luke Hughes loaded the bases again with two out, Jason Repko singled to center to bring home both Alexi Casilla and Young to make the score 3-0.

The score remained that way until the sixth, when Repko struck again. His singled to center again, bringing Hughes home to score and giving the Twins a 4-0 lead. Repko had three RBI on the day, and snapped the 0-for-14 streak that he had been riding prior to today's action.

Minnesota's scoring concluded in the sixth inning, as Matt Tolbert ripped a one-out single to right center off of Royals' reliever Jesse Chavez to score Hughes and Drew Butera to give the Twins their final margin of victory of 6-0.

Jeff Francis took the loss for the Royals after going seven innings and allowing four runs. . .only one of which was earned. . .on six hits. His record on the season drops to 2-6.

Again, no days off for the Twins, as they continue their road trip on Monday night with a trip to Cleveland to take on the Indians. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM, and the Twins will be sending right-hander Scott Baker (2-4, 3.86 ERA) to the mound. The Indians will counter with right-hander Josh Tomlin (7-2, 3.27 ERA).

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Twins Get Third Straight Victory With Defeat of Kansas City Royals

Apologies for not having a preview of this one up before the game.

The Minnesota Twins are assured of a series victory. . .in a series of at least three games in length. . .for the first time during the 2011 season after their victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.

The victory is Minnesota's third straight over the Royals, which means that they have taken this series from the Royals regardless of the outcome of Sunday's series finale. In 11 series of at least three games in length prior to this one, the Twins had managed one four-game split and had come out on the short end of every other series.

The Twins got the first run of the night in the top of the third, courtesy of an Alexi Casilla single that brought home Matt Tolbert. The lead did not last long, however, as the Royals got two runs of their own in the bottom of the third. The Royals managed to load the bases with one out in that half of the inning, and Eric Hosmer's single to center plated Alcides Escobar to tie the game at one and leave the bases loaded. Jeff Francoeur then lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to right field to bring Alex Gordon in to score and give the Royals a 2-1 lead after three innings.

The score remained that way until the top of the sixth inning. Ben Revere led off the inning with a single, and Casilla's bunt single put runners on first and second for Minnesota. Michael Cuddyer's groundout moved both of them up 90 feet, and Danny Valencia's groundout brought Revere home to tie the score at two. Delmon Young then reached on an infield single, allowing Casilla to score and give the Twins a 3-2 lead.

Minnesota added more runs in the top of the seventh, an outburst that started with Rene Rivera. . .yes, catcher Rene Rivera. . .reaching first on a bunt single. Matt Tolbert then followed up with a double to put runners on second and third. Ben Revere then singled to center to score Rivera, and Tolbert took third on the play, making the score 4-2. Casilla then followed that up with another single, scoring Tolbert and allowing Revere to take third, making it 5-2, Twins. Michael Cuddyer then singled as well to score Revere and give the Twins a 6-2 lead. That was all the Twins would get, however, as Royals reliever Louis Coleman was able to set the Twins down after that.

Cuddyer put the coup de grace on the evening with a solo home run to left-center in the top of the ninth inning off of Aaron Crow to make the score 7-2 in favor of the Twins. The blast was Cuddyer's seventh of the year, and the only one by either team on Saturday night.

Of course, since this is the 2011 Minnesota Twins, it can't be all good news. Starting pitcher Nick Blackburn, who got the win in this one after pitching five innings of work and allowing two runs and seven hits, left after experiencing tightness in his back. No word yet on his status, but hopefully it isn't anything major. The Twins' bullpen combined to pitch four incredibly solid innings of relief, allowing only one hit over that time span, although they did walk four people.

The victory for Blackburn raises his record to 5-4 on the season. Royals' starter Luke Hochevar took the loss, dropping him to 3-6 on the season.

The Twins will go for an unexpected. . .and, from this team, unprecedented, four-game sweep of the Royals on Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium, with first pitch scheduled for 1:10 PM Central time tomorrow. The Twins will hand the ball to left-hander Brian Duensing (2-5, 5.37 ERA), and the Royals will counter with lefty Jeff Francis (2-5, 4.46 ERA).

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Pavano Gets Career Victory Number 100 As Twins Beat Royals

Nick Blackburn showed us not too long ago that the best way to prevent the worst bullpen in the majors from blowing a lead is to not allow them into the game. On Friday night in Kansas City, Carl Pavano decided to follow his lead.

Pavano pitched a complete game for the Twins at Kauffman Stadium on Friday night, and the Twins got their second straight victory over the Kansas City Royals with a 5-2 decision. The victory for Pavano was the 100th of his career, and his first since April 24 of this season.

Minnesota got the early advantage in this one, taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning courtesy of a Denard Span double that plated Ben Rever and Drew Butera. Then, with one out in the third inning, Michael Cuddyer touched up Royals' starter Danny Duffy for a solo home run, his sixth of the season, to give the Twins a 3-0 lead.

Kansas City responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, one coming courtesy of an infield single by Royals' catcher Brayan Pena, and the second coming via a single to right by Alex Gordon. That cut the Minnesota lead to 3-2, but that's as close as Kansas City would get on the night.

The Twins' other two runs came from the most unlikely of sources. . .the bat of Drew Butera. In the top of the sixth, Butera laced a double to left field to score Luke Hughes and increase Minnesota's lead to 4-2. Then, in the top of the eighth, the Twins had Delmon Young on third base and Ben Revere on second with one out, and Butera lifted fly ball to center deep enough to score Young and make the score 5-2, but Revere got tagged out at third, ending the inning with no further damage from the Twins.

That was all Pavano needed, however, as he allowed just two hits over his final five innings of work, both singles, en route to increasing his 2011 record to 3-5. Duffy took the loss for the Royals in his first decision of the season.

The same two teams will battle it out again on Saturday at Kauffman Stadium, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:10 PM Central time. The Twins will hand the ball to right-hander Nick Blackburn (4-4, 3.57 ERA) for that one, while the Royals will go with righty Luke Hochevar (3-5, 4.96 ERA).

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Twins' Offense Strikes Early And Often In 8-2 Victory Over Royals

Earlier in the day on Thursday, the Twins put both Jim Thome and Jason Kubel on the 15-day disabled list. Joe Mauer wasn't in the lineup, either, as he's still down in Fort Myers going through extended spring training.

So, with those three guys out of the lineup, it makes perfect sense that the Twins put together one of their better offensive games of the season on Thursday night against the Kansas City Royals, with a six-run third inning being the highlight of an 8-2 triumph at Kauffman Stadium to snap the Twins' four-game losing streak.

Both teams scored single runs in the first inning, with Minnesota's run coming courtesy of a fielder's choice by Michael Cuddyer, and Kansas City's run in the bottom half coming on an RBI double by Jeff Francoeur. However, it was the top of the third that was the big one for the Twins, as they sent ten batters to the plate and put a six-spot on the board against Royals' starter Sean O'Sullivan.

The inning started with Alexi Casilla singling to right field, and advancing to third on a single by Justin Morneau. Michael Cuddyer then doubled to left field, bringing Casilla home and putting runners on second and third, giving the Twins a 2-1 lead. Danny Valencia then hit a ground ball to Royals' second baseman Mike Aviles, but Aviles threw the ball away, allowing Valencia to reach and scoring Morneau from third to increase the Minnesota lead to 3-1.

Cuddyer then, inexplicably, attempted to steal third, and was gunned down by Royals' catcher Matt Treanor. Delmon Young then singled, and rather than potentially having the bases loaded with nobody out, the Twins had runners on first and second with one out. Ben Revere then struck out swinging for the second out of the inning, and it looked like the Twins would squander a golden opportunity.

Then, the Twins put together four consecutive hits to really blow things open. Rene Rivera singled to score Valencia and make the lead 4-1 for Minnesota. Matt Tolbert then singled to score Young, and the Twins wound up with runners on second and third as both Rivera and Tolbert moved up 90 feet on the throw to the plate. O'Sullivan then uncorked a wild pitch to allow Rivera to score, making the lead 6-1, and Denard Span singled to left-center to score Tolbert and increase the Minnesota lead to 7-1. Casilla, who led off the inning, then struck out to end it against Royals reliever Nick Adcock, but the damage had already been done.

Kansas City got one of those runs back in the bottom of the fifth on another RBI double by Francoeur, but the Twins answered back in the top of the seventh when Revere's RBI double scored Delmon Young to make the score 8-2 and end the scoring for the evening.

Anthony Swarzak put together his second straight outstanding start for the Twins, scattering seven hits over six innings and allowing two runs in a victorious effort. It was his first victory on the season, increasing his record to 1-2, and his ERA dropped to 3.43. Jose Mijares, Alex Burnett, and Matt Capps each pitched one scoreless inning in relief. O'Sullivan took the loss for the Royals, allowing seven runs (only three of which were earned) on eight hits in 2.2 innings of work. His record on the season is now 2-5.

The same two teams will get together at Kauffman Stadium again tomorrow night, with the first pitch again scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time. The pitching match-up will see right-hander Carl Pavano (2-5, 5.19 ERA) take the mound for the Twins, and left-hander Danny Duffy (0-0, 4.11 ERA) taking the hill for Kansas City.

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