Updated: September 1st, 2012 11:19pm
Joe Mauer's grand slam lifts Twins to doubleheader sweep of Royals

Joe Mauer's grand slam lifts Twins to doubleheader sweep of Royals

by The Associated Press
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Joe Mauer's first grand slam of the year helped the Minnesota Twins finish off a successful Saturday.

Mauer got his third career grand slam and Chris Parmelee added a three-run shot and the Twins outlasted the Kansas City Royals 8-7 to complete a sweep of a doubleheader.

The skinny

Justin Morneau drove in two runs and Minnesota rookie Cole De Vries beat the Royals 3-1 in the first game.

Mauer's grand slam in the second inning of the nightcap was his first since 2009. Mauer's ninth home run came after Pedro Florimon's double was sandwiched around walks to Drew Butera and Ben Revere.

"Joe's the heart and soul of this offense," Parmelee said. "He's the heart; he makes it beat. We need him in there. I feel like someone like him is someone you can't replace -as a player and as a person."

Parmelee homered in the first with Alexi Casilla and Josh Willingham aboard.

Luke Hochevar (7-13) lasted just 1 2/3 innings, the shortest outing of his career. Hochevar faced 14 batters. Ten reached (six hits and four walks) and eight scored before he was replaced by Everett Teaford, who threw 5 1-3 scoreless innings.

"Hochevar just didn't have it," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He was battling his command and he had his pitch count up to the mid-60s in the second inning. It just wasn't his night. They did the damage on two swings. It was the walks and a couple of homers."

The Twins led 8-2 after two innings, but Twins right-hander Liam Hendriks, who is 0-9 in 15 career starts, was unable to pick up the victory. Nine of the 10 hits off Hendriks were with two outs.

Hendriks was pulled after 3 2/3 innings, allowing two unearned runs in the fourth after a fielding error by third baseman Trevor Plouffe.

"He couldn't put people away," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He couldn't finish an inning off. Ploufee missed the one play, but still he had a chance to get out of the inning by making a pitch and he couldn't do it.

"He just didn't make enough quality pitches and it ended up costing him a chance for his first win. These guys are trying hard for that, believe me. They want to see him get it and so do I. But he's going to have to earn it and today he didn't earn it."

After Plouffe's miscue that could have ended the inning, Hendriks allowed RBI singles to Alex Gordon and Billy Butler, trimming the lead to 8-5, and out came Gardenhire to pull him.

"Joe hit that ball a long way and I'm sitting in there, going, 'all right let's go,'" Hendriks said. "I just had a scoreless second inning and went out there and said, 'all right I've got this.' I got ahead of the guys, got two outs and the hits just started falling.

"I'm thinking, I've got this, let me get through this. I know I can do it, just as I saw him (Gardenhire) coming out, it's just one of those things. It's frustrating cause the team puts up those sort of runs and you can't stay out there and give the bullpen more of a rest and finish."

Anthony Swarzak replaced Hendricks, who allowed five runs, three earned, and 10 hits. Swarzak (3-4) was credited with the victory, allowing two runs and one hit in 2 2/3 innings.

Turning point

Eric Hosmer's two-run, two-out single off Casey Fien, the fourth Minnesota pitcher, made it 8-7 in the seventh inning.

But Glen Perkins came on for his second save of the day, improving to 10-of-13 for the season.

Health report

Manager Ron Gardenhire said the Twins "might go" to a six-man rotation with the additions Saturday of righthanded pitchers P.J. Walters, who was reinstated from the disabled list, and Esmerling Vasquez, who was promoted from Triple-A Rochester and is scheduled to start Sunday against the Royals.

Vasquez was strictly a reliever from 2009-11 with Arizona, but the Twins plan to look at him as a starter. Walters started before shoulder inflammation shut him down for 70 games.

On deck

• Sunday: at Kansas City, 1:10 p.m. Twins RHP Esmerling Vasquez (first start) vs. RHP Luis Mendoza (7-9, 4.51 earned-run average).
• Monday: at Chicago White Sox, 6:10 p.m. TBD vs. White Sox LHP Hector Santiago (2-1, 3.91).
• Tuesday: at Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m. Twins RHP Samuel Deduno (5-2, 3.72) vs. White Sox LHP Jose Quintana (5-3, 3.17).

© The Associated Press