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Updated: June 2nd, 2011 9:59pm
Twins Daily: Offense bats around in 3rd to chase Royals starter in win

Twins Daily: Offense bats around in 3rd to chase Royals starter in win

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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A six-run third inning propelled the injury-depleted Minnesota Twins to an 8-2 triumph over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night, snapping a four-game losing streak in a series opener at Kauffman Stadium.

The skinny

On a day the Twins put two key hitters on the disabled list, one of the best offensive innings in their disappointing season provided plenty of support for Anthony Swarzak, who delivered his second strong start in as many opportunities while Francisco Liriano nurses a sore shoulder.

The 25-year-old right-hander threw 99 pitches (60 strikes) in six innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits with a strikeout and two walks to earn his fourth big-league win and first since July 26, 2009.

A lineup without Jason Kubel and Jim Thome pounded out 10 hits, and the Twins' struggling relievers did the job, too. Jose Mijares, Alex Burnett and Matt Capps each threw a scoreless inning to put away the Royals (25-31), who had won two in a row after a 1-8 slump.

Turning point

Tied at 1, the Twins (18-37) broke things open by sending 10 batters to the plate in the top of the third, setting one season high with seven hits and matching another with six runs.

Alexi Casilla and Justin Morneau singled. Michael Cuddyer ripped an RBI double down the left-field line. Morneau came home on Royals second baseman Mike Aviles' throwing error, which put Danny Valencia aboard.

Cuddyer was thrown out at third base on an ill-advised steal attempt, handing struggling starter Sean O'Sullivan the first out, and Ben Revere followed Delmon Young's single with a strikeout -- but the Twins weren't done.

Rene Rivera pulled an RBI single through the left side. Matt Tolbert drove in another run with a single to right. Rivera scored on a wild pitch, and Denard Span singled over shortstop to bring in another run, chase O'Sullivan (2 2/3 innings, one strikeout, three walks) and make it 7-1 before Casilla grounded out to end the frame.

Revere added an RBI double in the seventh, giving the Twins at least eight runs for only the fourth time in 55 games this season.

Numbers game

8: Twins who had at least one hit in the win. Valencia went 0-for-5.

2: Runs driven by Cuddyer, who drove in Span with a first-inning groundout.

3: Extra-base hits by Royals RF Jeff Francouer, who had RBI doubles off Swarzak in the first and fifth innings and led off the eighth with a triple against Burnett.

8: Players on the disabled list for the Twins, who added two more -- Kubel (sprained mid-left foot) and Thome (strained left quadriceps) -- to the list before Thursday's game. The Kubel move was retroactive to May 31.

3: Position players called up from Triple-A Rochester a roughly 24-hour span. Revere was recalled after Wednesday's loss at Detroit, IF Luke Hughes was on his way to join the team on Thursday and OF Brian Dinkelman's contract was selected on Thursday night.

1: Twins player who hasn't missed a game this season. Valencia has played in all 55. Span only has sat out one.

Health watch

• C Joe Mauer (bilateral leg weakness), caught three innings and went 0-for-5 in an extended spring training game in Fort Myers, Fla. He told reporters he expects to get some swings as a designated hitter on Friday, then catch again on Saturday. The Twins transferred him to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Dinkelman, meaning Mauer won't be eligible to return until June 12.

• IF Tsuyoshi Nishioka (fractured left fibula) played all nine innings at shortstop in the same extended spring game.

• Liriano (left shoulder inflammation) threw a bullpen on Thursday and felt good, according to Fox Sports North. He's eligible to be activated on Tuesday.

On deck

Right-hander Carl Pavano (2-5, 5.19) threw eight innings in a loss on Sunday to the Angels, allowing five runs (four earned) on 10 hits and getting no help from his defense while continuing to battle his command. He has had a surprising amount of trouble in his career against the Royals, too, going 7-6 with a 6.55 earned-run average and allowing 103 hits in 77 innings over 14 appearances (13 starts).

Kansas City will counter on Friday (7:10 p.m., 1500 ESPN Twin Cities) with 22-year-old lefty Danny Duffy (0-0, 4.11), a third-round pick in the 2007 draft who made his big-league debut on May 18. He's coming off the best of his three starts -- six innings in which he allowed three earned runs on five hits, including two homers, against Texas on Sunday. A California native, Duffy throws a fastball that tops out in the mid-90s as well as a curveball and changeup.

Coming up

• Saturday: at Kansas City, 6:10 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn (4-4, 3.57) vs. RHP Luke Hochevar (3-5, 4.96).
• Sunday: at Kansas City, 1:10 p.m. LHP Brian Duensing (2-5, 5.37) vs. LHP Jeff Francis (2-5, 4.46).
• Monday: at Cleveland, 6:05 p.m. RHP Scott Baker (2-4, 3.86) vs. TBD.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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