By Rhett Bollinger and Jeffrey Flanagan
MLB.com |@FlannyMLB |
MINNEAPOLIS -- Lorenzo Cain tied a career high with four hits, while Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer to lift the Royals to a 7-4 win over the Twins on Tuesday night at Target Field. Kansas City won its fourth straight series and notched its eighth straight victory against Minnesota, which has lost eight of its last nine games.
Cain, who had four hits for the 10th time in his career, also drove in two runs. Perez, who had a career-high five hits on Monday, hit a second-inning homer off former teammate Ervin Santana.
It was enough offense for Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez, who went 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks with six strikeouts. Volquez improved to 5-4 with a 3.79 ERA. Closer Wade Davis loaded the bases with none out in the ninth, but struck out Eduardo Nunez and Joe Mauer before getting Miguel Sano to line out to center for his 12th save.
"It was just a timing thing," Davis said. "I couldn't quite get comfortable. But it worked out. The team did a nice job getting this win."
Added Royals manager Ned Yost, "He just finds a way to up his game in those situations. It's just that closer in him. The tighter the situation. The better he is."
Volquez outpitched Santana, who went a season-low 3 2/3 innings, surrendering six runs on nine hits and two walks. It was the worst start of the season for Santana, who saw his ERA rise from 3.13 to 4.17.
"My command was not good," Santana said. "Everything was up in the zone. The two-seamer to Perez was right down the middle. It was not good."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Sizzling LoCain: It didn't seem that long ago that Cain's average was stuck in the low .200s. He has now hit in six straight and is 27-for-70 over his last 17 games as his average has climbed to .296. Cain doubled in the first, and produced RBI hits in the fourth and sixth innings. More >
"I guess I've been swinging a lot better than I was earlier in the year," Cain said. "But it's a long season and that's why you keep battling and fighting and scrapping.
"You hope things turn around and it has lately."
Escobar heating up: Twins shortstop Eduardo Escobar, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Monday, has been swinging a hot bat since his return. After going 2-for-4 on Monday, Escobar went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He also had a two-out single in the fourth that scored two runs on a misplay by right fielder Paulo Orlando.
Who'll stop Paulo?: The Royals outfielder continued his torrid pace with two more hits, including a single in the second and a double in the fourth. Orlando now has a career-high eight-game hitting streak and is 17 for his last 30 (.567). More >
Bullpen keeps Twins in it: Santana lasted 3 2/3 innings a night after Ricky Nolasco went 2 2/3 frames, but Minnesota's bullpen was able to pick up the slack. Relievers Michael Tonkin, Ryan Pressly, Brandon Kintzler and Fernando Abad combined to allow one run over 5 1/3 innings with five strikeouts. The lone run was charged to Pressly, who gave up a bloop RBI single to Cain with two out in the sixth. More >
"We're extending people," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Pressly had a good night and gave up a run on a good pitch that Cain dumped into right field. Tonkin did a nice job, Fernando continues to pitch well and Kintzler. Those guys are taking the ball. And I give them credit for that because they've been having to do that quite frequently."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Perez simply adores Target Field. With two more hits on Tuesday night, Perez now is 57-for-154 (.370). He also has a 10-game hitting streak.
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Right-hander Dillon Gee (1-1, 2.90 ERA) gets the starting nod for the series and road trip finale on Wednesday at Target Field. Gee has a 3.48 ERA in his two starts, getting his first win as a Royal last Friday vs. the White Sox when he gave up one run over five innings.
Twins: Right-hander Tyler Duffey (1-3, 3.30) will start the series finale against the Royals on Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. CT. Duffey is coming off his worst start of the year, as he gave up six runs over 5 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays on Friday.