Royals 11, Twins 7
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—As Ron Gardenhire sat in the visiting manager’s office discussing Kansas City’s 11-7 victory over his mistake-prone Minnesota Twins on Friday night, there came the clear sound of a toilet flushing.
“Somebody upstairs is telling me what we should do with this game, and that’s just perfect,” said Gardenhire, whose bullpen had four wild pitches and hit two batters in 3 2-3 innings.
“That’s what we’ll do with it.”
The Royals’ slumping hitters will hope this is the game that awakens their bats and gets them out of a two-week funk. Mike Sweeney, hitting .195 when the night began, had two hits including his first home run. He scored twice.
“We’re going to keep working hard every day in the cage and do our homework,” said Sweeney.
The Royals started the night at 4-11, the worst record in the majors.
“It’s only 15 games,” said Sweeney. “We’re not going to panic. We’ve dug ourselves a pretty good hole. But there’s plenty of time to turn things around.”
The Royals, down 4-2, got hits on four straight pitches off Sidney Ponson (1-2) in the fifth, starting with David DeJesus’ leadoff single. Mark Grudzielanek then hit his first home run in 133 at-bats, and Teahen and Sweeney singled on the next two deliveries.
Odalis Perez (1-2) went five innings for his first win, giving up four runs and seven hits, with a walk and two strikeouts.
David Riske pitched two innings for his second save in three opportunities.
Ponson went 5 1-3 innings and allowed six runs and 10 hits, walking one and striking out two.
“Sidney was not very good tonight,” Gardenhire said. “He was up and didn’t really have a lot of zip on the ball.”
Joe Mauer, the defending AL batting champion, was 3-for-5 with two RBIs for the Twins to lift his average to .377
Minnesota closed to 7-6 on Punto’s two-run single off Jimmy Gobble in the sixth, but then the Twins’ bullpen collapsed. The Royals loaded the bases in the eighth on a single and two hit batters and got runs on a walk, a sacrifice fly and another wild pitch.
“I think we saw a very ugly baseball game on our part,” Gardenhire said.
Sweeney hit his first home run of the year leading off the second to cut the deficit to 2-1. After Punto and Mauer hit back-to-back doubles in the third, Teahen cut Minnesota’s lead to 3-2 with an RBI single.
Punto walked in the fifth and stole second. He then scored on Mauer’s opposite-field single into left for a 4-2 lead.
Kansas City manager Buddy Bell was asked if he had any empathy for his Minnesota counterpart for the way his bullpen collapsed.
“No,” he said. “Gardie wouldn’t have any for me, either.”
Alexi Casilla stole second base in the eighth, making the Twins 18-for-18 for the season. … Royals manager Buddy Bell, who underwent surgery to remove a cancerous growth in his throat last September, says he’s feeling fine. He’s been throwing batting practice and feeling no ill-effects at all. “A 10-game winning streak would make me feel even better,” he said. … Emil Brown and Sanders wore No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. They were supposed to wear Robinson’s number last Sunday in Baltimore but the game was rained out. … Twins OF Rondell White, on the DL with a strained right calf, did not fare well when he tried to run in the outfield.