Published July 26, 2010
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Joe Mauer had five hits and a career-best seven RBIs and Danny Valencia went 4 for 4 with a grand slam for his first major league home run, leading Minnesota to a 19-1 rout Monday night over Kansas City.
Mauer, the 2009 American League MVP, was 5 for 5 with three singles, a double and a three-run home run that made it 17-0 in the seventh. The five hits tied his career best as the Twins set a season-high in runs and tied their season-best with 20 hits. The crowd booed in the eighth when Drew Butera pinch hit for Mauer.
Wilson Betemit's RBI double off Anthony Slama with two out in the ninth prevented the Royals from suffering their worst shutout loss ever.
Valencia, a rookie third baseman, also scored four runs. His grand slam capped a six-run first inning against reigning Cy Young winner Zack Greinke. One day after he had three hits against Baltimore, Valencia also had two doubles and a single.
Needing a triple for the cycle in his last at-bat in the eighth, he walked on a 3-2 pitch from Dustin Hughes, the fifth Kansas City pitcher.
Five Twins had multihit games. Their 11 extra-base hits included two home runs, two triples and seven doubles. Alexi Casilla had three RBIs and scored three runs and Delmon Young had four hits, an RBI and two runs scored.
Virtually unnoticed among the offensive fireworks was the best game Nelson Liriano (9-7) has thrown all year. The Twins starter threw seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits, with no walks and six strikeouts.
Greinke (6-10), who has been bothered by a sore shoulder, got roughed up for eight hits and eight runs in just four innings, one of the worst outings of his career, and dropped to 0-3 against Minnesota this year.
In a prelude of what the night would hold, the Twins came within a couple of inches of becoming just the fifth team since 1974 to have its first four batters combine for the cycle.
Jason Repko led off the game with a double, then trotted home when Casilla tripled into right-center. After Mauer singled, Young launched a Greinke fastball into deep left field. The ball was only a few inches short of clearing the fence, and Young settled for an RBI double.
Jim Thome and Michael Cuddyer struck out and Jason Kubel walked before Valencia lashed a 3-1 pitch over the fence in left for a 6-0 lead.
Kansas City's Jason Kendall became the fifth catcher in major catcher in major league history to catch 2,000 games. The 36-year-old is in his 15th season.
NOTES: It was the fourth time Mauer had five hits, and the second against Kansas City this year. ... Royals RHP Gil Meche gave up seven runs on eight hits in four innings Monday in a rehab assignment at Triple-A Omaha against New Orleans. ... KC SS Yuniesky Betancourt was a late scratch because of a "personal emergency." ... Repko made a great catcher in center field in the first inning, leaping against the wall as he hauled in Billy Butler's drive. ... According to STATS, Inc., the Royals, Twins and Indians (twice) are the only teams since 1974 to have their first four batters combine to hit for the cycle.