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Twins Explode Early, Hang On To Defeat Royals 19-1

Joe Mauer went 5-for-5 with a career-high seven RBI and Danny Valencia hit a grand slam for his first career home run, as the Twins pounded Kansas City, 19-1, in the opener of a three-game series.

Valencia was 4-for-4 with four RBI, doubling twice and scoring four times. Both he and Mauer fell only a triple shy of the cycle. Alexi Casilla knocked in three runs and scored three, while Delmon Young went 4-for-6 with an RBI as part of a season-high 20-hit attack.

The 19 runs were also a season high and came on the heels of a 19-hit, 10-4 win versus Baltimore Sunday in which Jason Kubel belted a grand slam. Kubel added two RBI in Monday's blowout.

Francisco Liriano (9-7) won his third straight start behind all the support while Minnesota has won five of six overall.

The lefty hurler blanked the Royals for seven innings of three-hit ball, fanning six without walking a batter. He's gone at least seven innings in each of his last three outings, permitting just two runs in that time.

Zack Greinke (6-10) endured a six-run first inning on the way to surrendering eight on eight hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in four forgettable frames.

It was all Twins from the get-go, as Greinke allowed hits to the first four batters he faced, including an RBI triple to Casilla and Mauer's run-scoring single. A double by Young and a walk to Kubel later loaded the bases for Valencia, who made his first home run one to remember as Minnesota grabbed a 6-0 lead.

A two-run single by Mauer in the fourth was only part of the fury still to come, as Casilla, Mauer and Young strung together consecutive RBI hits against Kanekoa Texeira in the sixth. It wound up being the Twins' second six-run frame of the game with Michael Cuddyer adding an RBI double and Kubel a two- run single versus Victor Marte.

The carnage continued just an inning later with Marte still on the mound. He put the first two on in front of Mauer, who parked his sixth home run of the season out to left for a 17-0 affair.

Dusty Hughes was next on the mound for KC in the eighth and the Twins polished off their scoring with an RBI triple from J.J. Hardy and a sac fly by Casilla.

The Royals saved some face in the ninth after Wilson Betemit doubled home Mitch Maier with Anthony Slama making his third career big league appearance for Minnesota.

Game Notes

Greinke's eight earned runs were a season high. He had earlier allowed eight total runs (seven earned) in a 3 1/3-inning start against the Rockies on May 23...The Twins were a remarkable 9-for-17 with runners in scoring position. Jim Thome (0-for-3) was the only member of the starting lineup to not get a hit for Minnesota...Kansas City's Scott Podsednik doubled to extend a hitting streak to 13 games. He also stole his 30th base of the year...Blake Wood was the lone Royals pitcher not to allow a run Monday.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.