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.