By Jeffrey Flanagan and Rhett Bollinger
MLB.com |@FlannyMLB |
KANSAS CITY -- It might be safe to say that Alex Gordon has ditched his season-long slump.
Gordon blasted a grand slam to cap a five-run fourth inning that powered the Royals to an 8-1 win over the Twins on Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium. It was the Royals' fifth straight win and 10th in 12 games. It was Gordon's third career slam.
"I got too quick," Duffey said. "I was missing arm-side with my fastball and then yanking my curveball. I was fighting myself a little bit and next thing you know, you're out of the game."
Brian Dozier belted a leadoff homer off Gee, his 27th blast of the season. He has homered in six straight starts against the Royals.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Gordon on fire: Gordon broke it open with the grand slam to right-center -- Statcast™ estimated it traveled 421 feet from the plate with an exit velocity of 101.7 mph. Gordon now has a nine-game hitting streak and is 13-for-34 (.382) during that span. More >
"Feeling a lot better than I have been all year," Gordon said. "I just try to stick with the basics and put together good at-bats. Luckily, it's been happening a little bit more lately."
Dozier dinger: The Twins scored in a hurry with Dozier's leadoff homer. It was Dozier's 19th home run dating to June 25, which is the most in the Majors over that span. Dozier also tied Chuck Knoblauch for second on Minnesota's all-time list for leadoff homers with 14. Jacque Jones holds the record with 20.
"Don't throw him fastballs down the middle, that's for sure," Gee said. "He's definitely gotten me a lot.
"I just made bad pitches to him. He's got almost 30 homers so you can't make mistakes to him up in the zone."
Big inning: For the second straight night, the Royals' bats got off to a slow start. Duffey had a perfect game for 3 1/3 innings before Cheslor Cuthbert singled, launching a five-run rally. A big moment in the inning prior to Gordon's slam was Salvador Perez getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, forcing in the tying run. On Wednesday, the Royals were no-hit for 6 2/3 innings by Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez before rallying for a 4-1 win.
"The big inning was set up by Hoz busting himself down the line and beating it out," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Twins can't cash in: Minnesota squandered a scoring opportunity with two on and one out in the second, as Kurt Suzuki flied out to center and Robbie Grossman grounded to second to end the inning. It was a chance for the Twins to add to their early lead and after they squandered it, the offense was mostly quiet.
"We had chances to do a little bit more early in the game after Dozier's leadoff homer," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "But offensively, we couldn't muster much off of Gee."
SEE YA LATER
It didn't take long for the Royals to get their first baserunner, or so they thought. In the first inning, Paulo Orlando perfectly executed a bunt and sprinted to first. A poor throw by catcher Suzuki whizzed by first baseman Trevor Plouffe. Orlando ran on the fair side of the first-base line, then made contact with Plouffe on his way around the bag. The umpires called batter's interference. Yost and first-base coach Rusty Kuntz engaged in talks with the umpires, to no avail. Hitting coach Dale Sveum was ejected from the dugout by home-plate umpire Todd Tichenor. It marked the 15th time Sveum has been ejected -- 10 of those as a manager.
"They said that because [Orlando] ran outside the line it impeded, in their judgment, [Plouffe's] ability to catch the ball," Yost said. "'And my judgment was he couldn't catch that ball if he were standing on a 5-foot ladder."
WHAT'S NEXT Twins: Rookie right-hander Jose Berrios (2-3, 9.32 ERA) will get the ball on Friday at 7:15 p.m. CT in the rematch of this four-game series at Kauffman Stadium. Berrios has made just one quality start this year in seven tries, as he gave up three earned runs in six innings against the Indians on Aug. 1. The Twins have lost in four of his last five outings.
Royals: Right-hander Edinson Volquez (9-10, 4.95) will take the mound for the second game of the series against the Twins. He's struggled over his previous four outings, giving up 22 runs (18 earned), five home runs and 35 hits. The Royals have gone just 1-3 in those games, although they have won in each of Volquez's last seven starts vs. the Twins.