KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—If Dennys Reyes craved instant gratification, he’d have quit baseball long ago.
The soft-spoken left-hander had gone 26 straight appearances without a decision, including six starts. Then Carlos Beltran’s bases-loaded double propelled him and the Kansas City Royals past the Minnesota Twins 5-2 Saturday.
Reyes (1-0) went seven innings in his fifth start for the Royals, giving up six hits and two runs for his first win since he beat Seattle on Sept. 9, 2002. It was his first win as a starter since Sept. 6, 2002 against Tampa Bay.
“Every time I went out, I just tried to do my best and keep the game as close as I can so we can come back and win,” he said.
He struck out five of his first six batters Saturday and finished with eight strikeouts in seven innings. Only one of the runs against him was earned.
“I had a good breaking ball,” he said. “I didn’t have the good sinker but my breaking ball was working good today. They were chasing quite a few breaking balls.”
Jeremy Affeldt pitched the ninth for his third save in four chances.
Santana, coming off a three-inning outing that was the shortest of his career, allowed four runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings. Minnesota lost its third straight.
“I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do,” Santana said. “I was throwing my fastball in and out and everything was working pretty good. It seems like every time we make one mistake it costs us the game.”
Ken Harvey’s sixth straight hit, a two-out, RBI double, put Kansas City ahead in the first. Torii Hunter stopped an 0-for-16 skid with a run-scoring double in the fourth that scored Doug Mientkiewicz, who slid home on a close play. Michael Cuddyer then tripled for a 2-1 lead.
Beltran, the AL player of the month for April, had been perplexed by his slump.
“I’m seeing the ball good. I don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “It seems like I can’t get on top of the ball. In that at-bat, I was going out there and just try to put the ball in play. J.C. threw me a sinker right down the middle and I was able to hit it. As soon as I hit it I knew it was in the gap.”
Royals manager Tony Pena threw back his head and laughed when asked if he’d even considered pinch-hitting for his star outfielder.
“No,” he said. “He’s having his struggles. But the horses always step in at the right time. That’s what good players do. They brought in a very, very tough relief pitcher and he got a big hit. I was so happy for Carlos.”
Cuddyer went 2-for-2 with two walks and has reached in nine straight plateappearances.
The Twins have lost seven in a row and 14 of 18 when scoring three runs or fewer. … Umpire Charlie Reliford, scheduled to work second base, left because of a death in his family and was replaced by Mike Jost. … C Joe Mauer had one hit in his first game at Triple-A Rochester and the Twins remained confident he would rejoin the team some time next week. He had knee surgery after going on the DL on April 5. … When Santana struck Harvey out with a changeup in the fourth, it was the first time in eight plate appearances theDH/1B had not reached.