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Royals' Perez delivers two homers and a message

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez had a message for Twins pitcher Andrew Albers during the Royals' 8-1 win Wednesday night: Don't throw a purpose pitch at cap level.

And if Albers didn't get the hint, Perez added an exclamation point, lining a single through the box that caused the right-hander to duck.

Albers threw up and in at Perez in the sixth inning in Perez's first at-bat after drilling a two-run homer into the upper deck at Target Field. Perez spun away, then jawed at Albers while pointed at his own left temple. He followed that with what might be called a "purpose hit," leaving Albers with a smiling expression that appeared to mix amazement with a hint of anxiety.

"I didn't say anything bad to him, I just say to him that if you want to hit me, just hit me in my back, don't try to hit me in the head," said Perez, who homered again the eighth inning and also hit double off the wall in right-center in the second. He finished 4-for-5 with four RBIs.

Albers said, "It looked bad, he hit two lasers the first two times up, but I'm not trying to go after his head, I'm not trying to hit him in that situation. I don't have good enough stuff to just stay away, away, away, I've got to come in, and that one did get away."

Royals starter Danny Duffy didn't have nearly that much trouble. Recalled from Triple-A Omaha before the game to take the rotation spot of Wade Davis, Duffy (2-0) allowed five hits -- all singles -- and struck out seven with no walks in 6 2/3 scoreless innings.

It was Duffy's third major league start since he underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2012.

"I feel stronger every start, it doesn't take too much to maintain anymore," Duffy said. "But I'm still working hard."

The Twins only got one runner to third base against Duffy, who also received some help from the Royals defense with a double play and a nice running catch by left fielder Alex Gordon. Minnesota didn't have more than one baserunner in an inning until the ninth.

"We're just not scoring, we're striking out way too many times -- that's stating the obvious -- and we're not getting any big hits right now with men out there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Not a good night for us."

Luke Hochevar and Aaron Crow closed out the game for the Royals. Hochevar made his first appearance since coming off the paternity list following the birth of his second daughter on Sunday.

Both homers by Perez were 400-foot bombs and came with one runner on base. His first soared into Target Field's upper deck in the fourth inning. The second came in the eighth and landed in the Royals' bullpen in center field.

Perez's first career two-homer game, plus a solo shot by Gordon, helped the Royals earn their fourth straight win.

Minnesota, whose only run came on Justin Morneau's ninth-inning homer off Crow, has lost four in a row and six straight home games.

Albers (2-2) continued his slide back to reality with his second loss in as many decisions. Since allowing no runs over 17 1/3 innings in his first two career starts, Albers has given up 13 runs in 19 2/3 innings.

Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe had a horrendous night in the field, committing two errors -- one of them leading to an unearned run. He also short-armed another throw into the dirt that Morneau couldn't handle, with the play ruled an infield hit.

Gordon opened the scoring with a two-out solo homer to right in the third.

NOTES: By beating the Washington Nationals on Sunday, the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday and Minnesota on Tuesday, the Royals defeated three different teams over three consecutive days for the third time in team history. It also happened in 1990 and 1995, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... The Royals' 14-4 record against Minnesota represents Kansas City's most wins ever in one season over the Twins. ... A swinging strikeout by DH Chris Colabello in the fifth inning was the 1,122nd whiff of the season for the Twins, the most in team history, surpassing the mark set in 1997. ... Albers has given up at least one home run in each of his last three starts.

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