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Royals trounce Twins, move over .500

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Kansas Royals beat the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night at Target Field thanks to great pitching and the bat of Mike Moustakas.

Moustakas hit two home runs and led the Royals to a 7-2 win in the opening game of the series.

"All the work me and Pedro (Grifol) and George (Brett) put in the cage with me," Moustakas said about what contributed to his hitting. "Taking 100 swings every day, just trying to get that good feel back and feeling the barrel and today I found it."

Santana pitched seven strong innings for Kansas City. He threw 113 pitches, giving up two runs, four hits and one walk. He also collected eight strikeouts and befuddled Twins batters all night.

"He's been good all year long," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Santana. "He was fantastic tonight. Gave up one in the first and one in the fourth, but to get us through seven innings the way that he did and turn it over to the bullpen is phenomenal."

Twins starter Mike Pelfrey, who was slowly rounding into the staff ace, had a short outing against the Royals. Pelfrey threw 85 pitches in four innings, giving up four runs, eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts.

"He couldn't locate the ball," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "If you look at the film, and I will, it looked like he was picking at the plate rather than attacking the zone. The one thing he had been doing was attacking the zone. It's just not a good night for him and for our club."

Ryan Pressley came on to relieve Pelfrey in the fifth and shut down the Royals, retiring all nine hitters he faced to keep the Twins close.

"Pressley came in and did a really nice job, picked up the pace a little bit," Gardenhire said. "We got another run and I thought we were going to get back in it but Santana didn't allow it."

But Brian Duensing gave up the second two-out homer of the game to Moustakas, his ninth home run of the season, to give the Royals a little breathing room at 5-2.

Duensing gave up three singles to open the ninth. Jarrod Dyson scored, and David Lough hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Alex Gordon and put the game out of reach.

Tim Collins relieved Santana in the eighth and set the Twins down in order. Luke Hochevar allowed two Twins to reach in the ninth but ultimately closed them out to help Kansas City win its seventh straight and put the Royals (52-51) above .500.

"Everything is clicking so far -- our defense, our offense our pitching has been very good," Santana said. "So everything is good for us right now."

The Twins opened the scoring in the bottom of the first when Clete Thomas singled to center. He moved to second on Jamey Carroll's grounder to short and then scored on Joe Mauer's single to left.

Pelfrey lived dangerously in the early going, putting on two base runners in three of the first four innings.

In the third, he paid for it. Base hits by Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez and Miguel Tejada resulted in the first Kansas City run. The next batter, Moustakas, hit a two-out, three-run homer to right for a 4-1 lead. It was his eighth homer of the season.

"We had Pelfrey on the ropes the first four innings and really couldn't do much damage," Yost said. "Miggy's big hit, which he squirted up the middle, was huge to get Mous to the plate. And then Mous's three-run homer gave Ervin some breathing room, gave him a chance to work a little bit."

The Twins battled back in the fifth with a leadoff single by Carroll and walk to Justin Morneau. Ryan Doumit laced a single to left, scoring Carroll.

NOTES: Mauer returned to the lineup after missing a week for the birth of his twin daughters, Maren and Emily. He had an RBI single in his first at-bat. ... Before the game, the Twins unveiled the logo for the 2014 All-Star Game, which will take place at Target Field. ... The Royals came to Target Field having won six games in a row, the longest current streak in the majors. ... With the win the Royals moved above .500 (52-51), the latest in a season that they have been at or above .500 since 2003.
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