By Rhett Bollinger and Jeffrey Flanagan
MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-hander Danny Duffy tossed 6 1/3 solid innings, and he was backed by another strong showing from the offense to help keep the Royals undefeated with a 12-3 win over the Twins on Monday at Target Field.
Duffy outpitched Twins right-hander Trevor May, who made the start in Minnesota's home opener in place of Ricky Nolasco, who is out with right elbow inflammation. It helped the Royals to a 7-0 start on the year, which is the second best in franchise history behind only a 9-0 start by the 2003 Royals.
"I thought it went pretty well," Duffy said. "Overall, I felt like I was commanding the ball down. I even threw about four curveballs and three were strikes, so it was nice to see that come back again."
Kendrys Morales connected on a solo homer in the second, while Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez had RBI hits in a three-run sixth inning for Kansas City. The Royals broke it open with a six-run eighth inning that included the Royals scoring on a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded and a run-scoring fielding error from shortstop Danny Santana. Alcides Escobar had a two-run single, while Lorenzo Cain drew a bases-loaded walk and Hosmer added a sacrifice fly.
Brian Dozier paced Minnesota's offense with a pair of doubles off Duffy -- eventually scoring both times -- while Trevor Plouffe hit a solo shot off Duffy in the seventh. The Twins dropped to 1-6 on the year with the loss.
"We're just not making plays," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We're not pitching particularly well. We're not fielding particularly well. We're not swinging particularly well. And I'm probably not managing particularly well. So we have to try to be better."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Nice day for the birthday boy: Cain turned 29 years old on Monday and had a solid day in his professional life as well. Cain drove in the go-ahead run in the third inning with a sacrifice fly. And his double in the sixth plated the Royals' third run. He also scored the fourth run. Oh, and he walked with the bases loaded in the eighth.
May saddled with loss in home opener: May pitched better than his line indicated, as he only allowed a few hard-hit balls, including a solo shot from Morales in the second. The Royals scored on a sacrifice fly in the third, keyed by the Twins' inability to get an out on a grounder to second hit by Mike Moustakas. It unraveled in a three-run sixth, but again it was the defense that let May down. The right-hander was charged with five runs on eight hits and a walk over 5 1/3 innings
"Aside from a couple, the homer to Morales and a couple pitches in the sixth, I thought I executed fairly well," May said.
The new DH is pretty good: Much has been made of whether or not the Royals upgraded at DH with Morales over Billy Butler. Well, Morales is making an early case that they have. Morales hit a home run (his second) and a single, and he is batting .414 on the season. More >
Defensive miscues haunt Twins: May wasn't helped by his defense, especially during the sixth inning. With Moustakas at first, Cain doubled to right field, but Torii Hunter's throw missed the cutoff man, allowing Moustakas to score on an error. Hosmer followed with a deep line drive to left-center field that hit off Oswaldo Arcia's glove to allow a run to score. Arcia also dropped a pop fly in the fourth on a sliding-catch attempt. Santana capped it with an error with the bases loaded in the eighth on a routine grounder hit by Perez with the infield in. More >
"That inning wasn't pretty by any means," Molitor said. "I thought a lot of things we were doing well in Florida haven't translated into how we've performed here this first week. Collectively, defensively we're making mistakes."
"All these fans came out to see the Twins play and we didn't play Twins baseball. I don't know what we played. Bad News Bears baseball." -- Hunter
"This kid ain't afraid. Seen him yell at Miguel Cabrera. He may look small or thin, but he's afraid of no man." -- Royals manager Ned Yost on right-hander Yordano Ventura
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Morales had just one homer in 39 games with the Twins last year, but he has already surpassed that total in seven games with the Royals this season. Morales' solo shot off May in the second inning was his second homer of the year.
Rio exits after HBP
Royals right fielder Alex Rios was hit on the left hand with a pitch in the eighth inning. Rios left the game in the bottom of the eighth, and he was scheduled to have an X-ray Monday night.
"I think it's OK ... maybe," Rios said.
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Kansas City will send out right-hander Edinson Volquez against the Twins in a 7:10 p.m. CT start on Wednesday. Volquez is coming off an excellent debut for the Royals, when he went eight innings and gave up just one run in a 4-1 win against the White Sox.
Twins: After an off-day on Tuesday, the Twins return to action on Wednesday with right-hander Kyle Gibson starting against the Royals. Gibson struggled in his first start of the year, giving up six runs on eight hits and five walks over just 3 2/3 innings.