Twins power their way past Royals, extend winning streak to three
Cole De Vries (1-1) lasted five innings to pick up his first major league victory in his third career start. He got plenty of help from Jamey Carroll, who reached base four times with two RBI, and Ben Revere, who also drove in a pair of runs.
The Twins won their third in a row after beating the Cleveland Indians on Saturday and Sunday.
"It shows we can ad lib a little bit," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who was forced to make some lineup changes because a sprained thumb kept Joe Mauer on the bench. "We can pop a baseball, and I've always said if our pitcher gives us a chance, we can win some games."
The Twins survived two runs in the ninth by Kansas City to wrap up their sixth win in seven games. Matt Capps got Johnny Giavotella to ground out with the tying run on deck to finish it.
Mike Moustakas homered and had a pair of doubles with two RBI, and Eric Hosmer also drove in two runs for the Royals.
The error by shortstop by Alcides Escobar in the first inning certainly wasn't one of Kansas City's highlights. Nor was the stretch of three walks issued by Royals pitchers in the sixth inning.
The Twins were having plenty of problems of their own.
They led 4-1 in the bottom of the fourth when Moustakas followed a pair of singles to start the inning with an RBI double. Jeff Francoeur proceeded to slap a grounder to Twins shortstop Brian Dozier, who let the ball go right through his legs for a run.
Hosmer was next to bat and hit a grounder at second baseman Alexi Casilla, who stumbled all over himself for another error. The Royals wound up tying the score on the play.
De Vries ended the rally with the two key strikeouts.
"When something like that happens, someone has to pick it up," he said. "I was happy to be able to do that, pick it up for the guys."
The Royals' rally was short-lived.
Kansas City starter Will Smith retired Revere to start the fifth, but he walked Willingham before serving up a fat pitch to Morneau, who sent it sailing over the right-field wall. Plouffe's homer traveled nearly as far to left field and restored the Twins' three-run advantage.
Smith was charged with seven runs on eight hits and two walks in 4.2 innings, a somewhat sobering performance after he gave up two runs over six innings his last time out.
De Vries, the former undrafted free agent out of the University of Minnesota, gave up only two hits over five shutout innings in his previous start against Oakland. However, he walked five hitters.
On Monday, De Vries did not walk anyone and this time he got the win.
"It feels awesome," De Vries said. "It's something I've been waiting for my whole life."
The young righthander gave up five runs - four of them earned - in five innings before turning it over to the bullpen. Jeff Gray allowed a pair of runs in the ninth to break a string of more than 19 scoreless innings by Twins relievers, but Capps came on to finish it off.
Gardenhire was pleased with De Vries' outing.
"He made some huge pitches there just to keep himself in the ballgame, which was pretty impressive," Gardenhire said. " ... I was impressed that he was able to hang in there."
The score was tied 4-4 in the fifth when Morneau belted his homer off Smith (1-2), who like De Vries was making his third big-league start. Ryan Doumit grounded out before Plouffe's homer, which gave Minnesota a three-run cushion and chased Smith.
5: Errors by the Twins in their past two games.
2-0: Twins' record in their past two games.
Righthander Carl Pavano was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained pitching shoulder and righty Nick Blackburn (strained left quadriceps) was reinsated to the roster. Blackburn will start in place of Pavano on Wednesday in the series finale.
Catcher Joe Mauer was not available to play Monday because of a sprained right thumb suffered Sunday in Cleveland. Mauer said his thumb was more sore on Monday than it was Sunday.
On deck© The Associated Press