The Twins jumped all over Kansas City starter Luke Hochevar. They loaded the bases with none out in each of the first two innings. In the first, a run scored on Justin Morneau's double-play ball, but the big hit came two batters later, when Hochevar served up a three-run home run to Chris Parmelee, the outfielder's third long ball of the season.
In the second, Joe Mauer crushed a 1-2 offering from Hochevar to almost the exact same spot that Parmelee's blast landed an inning earlier. It was the Twins' first grand slam of the season and the third of Mauer's career. Two batters later, Hochevar was out of the game and the Royals were down, 8-2.
"We swung it extremely well today," Parmelee said. "Mauer having that grand slam helped out a lot, too. We played really good today, and we're all happy about that."
Mauer's grand slam was his latest success against Hochevar. The Twins All-Star is now 14-for-27 with two homers, seven RBIs and seven walks against the right-hander. Mauer is hitting .355 in his career at Kauffman Stadium with four home runs and 46 RBIs.
"It wasn't good," Hochevar said of his outing. "I came inside on Parmelee and tried to elevate up-and-in on Mauer, and they both got the head out and caught them both. That's where the damage was done -- and, obviously, falling behind and walking guys."
It was Hochevar (7-13) who started Game 2 of the last doubleheader between these teams on June 30. In that contest, he surrendered five runs in six innings on eight hits, including a trio of home runs. On Saturday, he gave up eight runs on six hits and four walks in just 1 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season.
Twins starter Liam Hendriks couldn't capture his first Major League win despite getting the most run support he's received all season. The righty wasn't hit quite as hard as Hochevar, but he served up three two-out rallies to keep the Royals in the game and couldn't last the requisite five innings to earn a victory.
In his previous start, Hendriks tossed a complete game and gave up one run against the Mariners, but Saturday he allowed five runs (three earned) on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings, his second-shortest outing of the year. His May 2 start against the Angels lasted just 2 1/3 innings.
"Liam really struggled," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He wasn't able to attack, and they jumped him. He just didn't look like he was going to get through it, unfortunate because we put up some runs for him with a chance to get his first Major League win. So, we're all disappointed in that, but it wasn't going to happen today. He just wasn't attacking like he did last time, didn't have a good feel for his pitches."
Hendriks' main issue was not being able to finish off innings. Nine of his 10 hits came with two outs, as did all five run-scoring hits he gave up to Kansas City. He also struggled against the middle of the Royals' batting order. The Nos. 3 through 6 hitters went 8-for-10 against Hendriks with two doubles, two runs scored and five RBIs.
"As soon as I got to two outs, I just started to leave stuff over the plate and I started to get behind. And then they came up with some really good swings, and a couple of those hits were good pitches," Hendriks said. "Guys managed to stay with them and managed to find the holes. ... It's just one of those things. I went out there, and I feel like I was throwing well and felt a lot stronger -- even than last outing, I felt a lot stronger. ... They took advantage of some hitter's counts, and I wasn't able to come back from that."
Hendriks left in the fourth inning, but the Royals weren't done, tightening things in the seventh on a two-run single by Eric Hosmer that narrowed the Minnesota lead to a run.
"They were coming back a little bit," Parmelee said. "But it's one of those things where we'd like to put some more runs up on the board in those middle [innings] and toward the end of the game."
The Twins were held scoreless after Hochevar departed in the second, allowing the Royals to stage a comeback attempt. In fact, Royals relievers held Minnesota to just three hits and a walk over the final 7 1/3 innings.
Minnesota hung on, though, and Glen Perkins pitched a scoreless ninth, earning save No. 2 of the day and No. 10 of the season. It was the first time a Twin recorded two saves in both games of a doubleheader since Aug. 18, 1984, when Rick Lysander did it at Fenway Park.
The Twins also swept a doubleheader against the Royals on June 30 at Target Field.
"A long day of baseball today and we came out on the top side a couple times. This is a good day for us," Gardenhire said. "We had a little bit of everything today."