Royals can't solve Twins in opener of twin bill

Royals can't solve Twins in opener of twin bill

Royals can't solve Twins in opener of twin bill
KANSAS CITY -- Minnesota might be in last place with the American League's worst record, but the Twins are rough on the Royals.

Behind strong pitching by Cole De Vries, the Twins dispatched the Royals, 3-1, in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday at soggy Kauffman Stadium.

That gave Minnesota a 9-4 record and De Vries a 3-0 mark against Kansas City this year.

"We just couldn't muster anything against him -- again," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "That's like the third time he's pitched really well against us."

De Vries gave up seven hits, one run and zero walks in 6 2/3 innings.

"He does a nice job of keeping the ball down," Yost said. "He gets us to swing at his pitch more than he probably should."

Postponed by rain on Friday night, the start was delayed 21 minutes and began at 3:31 p.m. CT in a drizzle. A total of more than 6 1/2 inches of rain was recorded at Kauffman Stadium from 10:30 a.m. on Friday until the game's first pitch, according to groundskeeper Trevor Vance.

The Twins jumped to a 1-0 lead against left-hander Will Smith in the rain-soaked first inning on Justin Morneau's RBI double. As the rain let up and the sky lightened a bit, there was no more scoring until the Twins' fifth when they went ahead, 3-0.

Pedro Florimon opened the inning with a bunt single, Darin Mastroianni singled, Jamey Carroll bunted them along and Josh Willingham walked to load the bases. Morneau's sacrifice fly scored one run and Ryan Doumit's single drove in the second. On the latter play, though, right fielder Jeff Francoeur threw out Willingham trying for third base.

Smith pitched into the seventh, pulled after walking Mastroianni. Right-hander Vin Mazzaro took over. The Twins loaded the bases, but Mazzaro escaped on Doumit's double-play grounder.

Mazzaro worked three scoreless innings and finished the game.

"Will did a great job and Vinnie looked fantastic," Yost said. "On the pitching, you ask him to keep you in the game and three runs is in the game, for sure. We just couldn't get anything going with the bats."

De Vries held the Royals to scoreless on four singles through the first six innings with only one runner advancing to second base.

The Royals finally broke through in the seventh after Mike Moustakas and Brayan Pena each singled to start the inning. De Vries got two outs but Johnny Giavotella singled to left, scoring Moustakas. That ended De Vries' outing and Alex Burnett arrived and retired Lorenzo Cain on a grounder.

Giavotella's hit came on a 2-2 fastball.

"Our game plan that we had on that pitch was good. We'd been throwing everything away, so we tried to come in and get him to fist it, roll it over," De Vries said. "I looked at the tape, and the pitch I threw wasn't really that bad. He just hit it enough to just fist it over third base. I jammed him pretty good, but he got me that time. I would like to have that one back."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.