KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Ervin Santana gave the Kansas City Royals the starting pitching they needed, while Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar provided clutch run-producing hits in the eighth inning as the Kansas City Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 3-1 in their home opener Monday afternoon.
It appeared Santana might be the losing pitcher, although he limited the Twins to one run and eight singles, only four of which came after the first inning, while striking out seven and walking one in eight innings.
The Royals' offense, however, did little with Twins starter Kevin Correia for seven innings - no runs and five singles.
Lorenzo Cain led off the Royals' eighth with a double, the first extra-base hit of the game. Chris Getz bunted Cain to third and Gordon drove him home with a line drive single to right.
Escobar's double to right brought home Gordon with the go-ahead run and finished Correia. Jared Burton came in and gave up a RBI-single to Billy Butler.
Correia's final line was three runs on eight hits with one walk and one strikeout, and he took the loss.
Aaron Crow worked around a one-out walk in the ninth to pick up the save. He joins Greg Holland and Kelvin Herrera as pitchers who earned saves in the Royals' first seven games.
The Royals improved to 22-23 in home openers.
Joe Mauer's first-inning single was his 1,277th career hit, moving him past Gary Gaetti and into sixth place on the Twins' all-time list. Mauer wound up scoring on Ryan Doumit's single to shallow left with two outs. It was the first time this season the Twins scored first.
The Twins ran themselves out of a potential bigger inning when Trevor Plouffe singled for the fourth hit of the inning. Justin Morneau stopped at third base, but Doumit rounded second base too far and was thrown out by catcher Salvador Perez trying to get back to the bag.
Salvador Perez and Jeff Francoeur singled in the Royals' second, but they failed to convert that into a run. Perez singled again in the fourth and Cain singled in the fifth, but both times Correia erased them both with double play ground balls.
Notes: Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, who starts Tuesday against the Twins, celebrated his 34th birthday Monday. ...The Royals have played eight of their 45 season home openers against the Twins. ...Jamie Splittorff, the son of the late Paul Splittorff, who holds the Royals' record with 166 career victories, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Paul threw the first pitch at Kauffman Stadium on April 10, 1973, a 12-1 rout of the Texas Rangers. ...Tate Stevens, who is from the Kansas City suburb of Belton, Mo., and won the 2012 TheXFactor, sang the National Anthem. ...The Royals have not won a home opener since 2008, when they beat the Yankees 5-2.