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After what looked like a pitcher's duel through five innings with a 1-1 tie on the scoreboard, the Royals proceeded to explode for four runs to open the sixth inning, forcing Minnesota starter Francisco Liriano from the mound in the process. Not to be outdone, the Twins more than answered in the bottom half of the frame, bombing Kansas City starter Bruce Chen for five runs themselves to forcing him from the game as well.
Drew Butera's three-run homer off the Royals' Aaron Crow made it a 10-5 game in favor of the Twins in the eighth, as part-time closer-by-committee member Glen Perkins stepped on the mound with a five-run lead in the final inning trying to protect the victory. But on a 92-degree day where the baseball was quite literally flying everywhere at Target Field, it was only natural that Perkins would quickly implode for three runs on four hits before shutting the door.
Winners of three straight games, Sunday's 10-run outing represented the seventh time the Twins have reached double digits in the scoring column this season. And with a dangerous four-game series at Comerica Park against the Detroit Tigers looming large, manager Ron Gardenhire will need to hope that his players can continue to swing a hot bat.
After sweeping Saturday's doubleheader, the Minnesota Twins will send surging lefty Francisco Liriano to the mound Sunday in search of a third straight victory.
Liriano (2-7, 5.30 ERA) threw seven innings and allowed just one run on four hits in his last outing against the Chicago White Sox and has posted a 2.41 ERA since returning to the Twins' rotation May 30.
The Royals' Billy Butler won't be pleased to see Liriano--he's a career .185 hitter in 27 at-bats against the lefty.
Kansas City will send another lefty, Bruce Chen, to the hill. Chen comes in with a 7-6 record and 4.53 ERA on the season, but all seven of those wins have come in his previous 10 starts. He's allowed less than three runs in eight of those starts.
Chen held Tampa Bay to one run in seven innings in his most recent outing.
Twins catcher Joe Mauer boasts a career .351 average and .435 on-base percentage against the Royals after a 2-for-4 day with a homer Saturday.
After throwing six strong innings to pick up his second victory of the season on Saturday against Kansas City, the Minnesota Twins optioned starting pitcher Cole De Vries back to Triple-A Rochester shortly after the game.
Called up on Friday specifically to pitch Saturday's nightcap, De Vries served more than admirably in his role as the team's 26th man for the doubleheader. A new provision added by Major League Baseball before the start of the 2012 season, teams are now permitted to add an extra player as a roster exception for doubleheader situations, a nice benefit that afforded the Twins the chance to snatch De Vries up from Triple-A.
While he was initially hopeful that a strong outing could keep him in the big leagues for a while, the 27-year-old right-hander clearly made an impression in Saturday's start. His ability to step in for a one-game situation could prove vital down the road as well, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him back with the Twins in a more established role before the year is out.
The Minnesota Twins' three-game losing streak became a distant memory on a busy Saturday at Target Field, as Ron Gardenhire's team pulled off a pair of wins against AL Central rival Kansas City to sweep the doubleheader in impressive fashion.
After taking game one 7-2 behind another strong performance from rookie hurler Scott Diamond, the Twins kept things rolling in the nightcap, knocking around Royals starter Luke Hochevar for five runs on eight hits en route to a 5-1 victory.
Twins outfielder Josh Willingham got things started on the right foot in the first inning against Hochevar with a two-out bomb to left field that plated teammate Joe Mauer. The blast represented Willingham's 16th of the season, putting him well on his way towards reaching the 30-home run plateau for the first time in his big league career.
Reserve infielder Chris Parmelee chipped in his first home run of the season on a solo homer in the third inning on a two-strike count, and Mauer followed suit in the next frame with a solo shot of his own. The All-Star catcher entered the doubleheader with just three home runs to his credit since April 13 however, but has been on a torrid pace from the plate in the second half of June and could be in line for a power surge.
Picking up Saturday's pivotal win in the box score for Minnesota was first-year starter Cole De Vries, who moved to 2-1 with a commendable 5.2-inning, one-run performance that included six strikeouts. Aside from a solo shot yielded to Kansas City's Billy Butler in the second inning, De Vries turned in a promising outing. With an eye on three straight victories, Gardenhire and company will send a much-improved Francisco Liriano to the mound for Sunday's series finale.
The Minnesota Twins may have dropped game one of their series against the Kansas City Royals and three-straight in total, but they avenged that loss on Friday with a big 7-2 victory on Saturday. In the morning game of the double header, Minnesota had steady offense with stellar third and fifth innings to take the big win, giving Scott Diamond the victory.
Diamond was stellar, giving up two runs off of six hits over eight innings on the mound. He had four strikeouts against two walks and is now 7-3 on the season. Glen Perkins had the save, giving up one hit in the ninth inning to seal the deal. Jonathan Sanchez of the Royals was handed the loss, and he was shelled by definition.
He lasted just over four innings and gave up ten hits with six walks while striking out four. He allowed six runs, two of which came in the third and four of which came in the fifth. Trevor Plouffe doubled to deep left field to get the scoring started, bringing Joe Mauer in and advancing Josh Willingham to third base. Ryan Doumit then came up and scored Willingham with a sacrifice fly.
Brian Dozier reached on a single in the fifth, scoring Doumit and advancing Darin Mastroianni to second. Alexi Casilla doubled to deep left, scoring both Dozier and Mastroianni. Finally, Denard Span scored Casilla with a single. Plouffe hit a homerun in the eighth inning to add the insurance run. Yuniesky Betancourt had both RBIs for the Royals, in the sixth and eighth innings.
Game two of the doubleheader is set to begin at 7:10 p.m. eastern, with Cole DeVries taking the mound for Minnesota against Luke Hochevar for Kansas City.
The Minnesota Twins have lost three games in a row and at 30-45 remain in the cellar of the American League Central. But on Saturday they'll have two chances to turn things around with a day-night doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals.
Game 1 of the doubleheader begins at 12:10 p.m. at Target Field with Minnesota's Scott Diamond facing Kansas City's Jonathan Sanchez in the pitching matchup. The Minnesota left-hander has yet to face the Royals this season but is coming off of a strong start against Cincinnati in his last outing.
Here are Saturday's game one starting lineups:
The Minnesota Twins resume their weekend series with the Kansas City Royals on Saturday afternoon with a day-night doubleheader scheduled between the AL Central rivals to make up for a game postponed on April 28th.
The Twins called up right-hander Cole De Vries from Triple-A Rochester on Friday for a spot start in the nightcap. De Vries will be making his fourth start for the Twins, going into the game with a 1-1 record and 4.20 ERA after making his major league debut on May 24th. The Royals will counter with right-hander Luke Hochevar (5-7, 5.07 ERA) who hasn't given up a run in his last two starts which included a complete-game shut out win over Tampa Bay in his last outing.
But first the Twins will try to bounce back from a Friday night loss to the Royals in the day game between the two teams. Minnesota will look to left-hander Scott Diamond (6-3, 2.67 ERA) to change their fortunes. Diamond was strong in his last outing,earning a win over the Cincinnati Reds by giving up three runs in eight innings.
The Royals will throw their own lefty at the Twins, with Jonathan Sanchez (1-3, 6.21 ERA) scheduled to start the day game. Sanchez is 0-3 in his last eight starts.
The doubleheader begins with game one at 12:10 p.m. CT with the second game scheduled to start at 6:10 p.m. CT with television coverage on Fox Sports North.
The Minnesota Twins rewarded fans who stuck around through the end of the game with a little excitement. However, a ninth inning rally ultimately fell short, and the Twins lost to the Kansas City Royals by a final score of 4-3. It was the third straight loss for the Twins.
Hours after signing a two-year, $7 million contract extension, Ryan Doumit hit a run-scoring single in the second inning to pull the Twins within one. Doumit was starting at the designated hitter spot, while Joe Mauer worked behind the plate.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Twins found some life. Denard Span walked to lead off the inning, and Ben Revere reached on an infield single. Joe Mauer then smacked a double off Jonathan Broxton to send Span home and Revere to third. Josh Willingham grounded out after Mauer's hit, but it was enough to push Revere in and make it one-run ball game. Broxton then got Justin Morneau to pop out, and the next hitter, Trevor Plouffe, fouled out to third to end the game.
Starter Brian Duensing got the hook after four innings. He allowed three runs on eight hits in what was just his second start of the season.
The Twins and the Royals are back in action on Saturday at 1:10 p.m. Eastern for the second game of their weekend series.
The Minnesota Twins are 9-12 against American League Central opponents so far this season, but have a prime opportunity to turn things around at home on Friday with the Kansas City Royals in town for a four-game set.
Fresh off signing a two-year contract extension that will keep him in Minnesota through the 2014 campaign, designated hitter Ryan Doumit will bat seventh for manager Ron Gardenhire on Friday evening. Will his future now a bit more certain, the career .271 slugger can settle further into his designated hitter role now that he's finally in the American League.
Twins pitcher Brian Duensing will get the ball for Friday's opener, making just his second start of the season after starting 28 games for Minnesota a year ago. Duensing posted a stellar 3.12 ERA in 30 appearances out of the Twins' bullpen this year before struggling through his first start of the season on June 23 against Cincinnati, and will need a strong outing if he plans to remain in the rotation for the foreseeable future.
Here are Friday's starting lineups:
7. Ryan Doumit - DH
Brian Duensing - SP
The Minnesota Twins locked up catcher/designated hitter Ryan Doumit on Friday with a two-year, $7 million extension that will keep him around through the 2014 season.
The Minnesota Twins will open a four-game set against the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.