The Kansas City Royals insisted the hits would come.
After a season high in runs and hits, they seek a third consecutive victory Saturday when their series continues against the Minnesota Twins.
The Royals (5-11) entered Friday’s game with a .228 team batting average and had scored just 51 runs in their first 15 games. But those offensive woes seemed to mean little in an 11-7 victory in which they rapped out 15 hits and rallied to take the lead with a season-high five-run fifth.
“We’re going to keep working hard every day in the cage and do our homework,” said Royals designated hitter Mike Sweeney, who hit his first homer. “We’re not going to panic. We’ve dug ourselves a pretty good hole. But there’s plenty of time to turn things around.”
Leadoff hitter David DeJesus went 3-for-5 with two runs scored to raise his average to a team-high .358, and is 7-for-14 with six runs in his last three games. DeJesus is batting .304 lifetime against the Twins, including .349 (29-for-83) with four homers and 13 RBIs at home.
The Royals offensive resurgence comes at a bad time for Twins starter Boof Bonser (0-1, 6.89 ERA), who is trying to regroup from consecutive sub-par outings that have more than doubled his ERA. The right-hander has been tagged for 11 runs in 9 2-3 innings over his last two starts and has served up four homers.
Bonser allowed two homers in 5 1-3 innings on Sunday, and gave up four runs and six hits overall before leaving without a decision in Minnesota’s 6-4 loss to Tampa Bay. He went 1-2 with a 4.80 ERA in three starts against the Royals in 2006, limiting them to one run and two hits in 6 2-3 innings in an 8-1 victory in the most recent matchup.
Friday’s win also marked the first time the Royals have won consecutive games this season.
Zack Greinke (1-2, 3.95) will try to keep the Twins bats in check as he also attempts to put a dismal start behind him. The right-hander failed to make it out of the first inning Monday at Detroit, where he allowed three hits, three walks and four runs in a 49-pitch effort that yielded just two outs.
Twins catcher Joe Mauer went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and is 7-for-13 with five runs and five RBIs on this road trip. He is 2-for-9 lifetime against Greinke.
Second baseman and leadoff hitter Luis Castillo sat out Friday’s game with a leg injury and is questionable for this game. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was unsure if the injury could lead to a stint on the 15-day disabled list.
Friday’s win overshadowed another poor effort from the Royals’ bullpen, which allowed three runs and six hits in the final four innings, and saw its ERA rise to 5.82 - the second-worst mark in the majors. On Friday, the Royals recalled left-handed reliever Neal Musser from Triple-A Omaha, where he limited opponents to an unearned run and three hits in eight innings.
“He is just another left-hander in the bullpen that we all like to have,” manager Buddy Bell said of Musser on the Royals’ official Web site. “I don’t really know right now how we are going to use him. Probably more at the end of the game.”