Minneapolis, MN – Will Smith spun seven scoreless innings on Tuesday as the Kansas City Royals thumped the Minnesota Twins, 9-1, in the opener of a three-game series at Target Field.
Smith (5-7) threw 68 of his 107 pitches for strikes and scattered seven hits while fanning seven and walking three to put an end to a three-start losing streak.
Lorenzo Cain crushed a two-run triple among his three hits and Alcides Escobar also knocked in a pair of runs with a three-bagger for the Royals, who have won three of their last four. Eric Hosmer clubbed a solo shot in the victory.
"(Scott) Diamond has always been tough on us, but to score nine runs, it was nice," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The four runs in the eighth were huge, that kind of put the game away for us."
Ryan Doumit knocked in the lone run of the night for the Twins and Diamond (11-7) was knocked around for four runs on 10 hits and three walks over six innings to lose for the second time in his past three starts.
Kansas City opened the scoring with three runs in the second inning. Salvador Perez began the inning with a single to left and moved to second on a wild pitch before scoring on a base hit by Jeff Francoeur. Hosmer followed with a single and both runners scored on a triple by Cain.
Alex Gordon tripled off the center field wall leading off the Kansas City third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Perez, extending the lead to 4-0.
The Twins put two runners on base with no outs in the fourth, but Doumit grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and Trevor Plouffe struck out, keeping the deficit at four.
Back-to-back walks to Darin Mastroianni and Escobar in the fifth again gave the Twins a scoring threat, but they were unable to capitalize as Pedro Florimon fanned, Mastroianni was caught stealing and Ben Revere grounded out to end the inning.
Kansas City turned it into a rout with four runs in the eighth. Hosmer began the frame with a double and scored on a base hit by Johnny Giavotella. Cain was plunked and Escobar tripled off the base of the wall in left field, scoring both runners. Escobar then hurried home on a wild pitch to make it an 8-0 contest.
Minnesota finally got on the board in the home eighth courtesy of an RBI single off the bat of Doumit, but the Royals capped the rout in the ninth when Hosmer smoked one over the wall in left for his 14th homer of the season.
"They knocked the fire out of the ball, they swung the bats very well," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They did a lot of things well and we didn't play very well at all."
Minnesota fell to 10-6 against Kansas City this season and 28-42 at home ... Kansas City finished 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base ... The Twins are 20-61 when the opposition scores first ...Minnesota went 1-for-9 with men in scoring position and stranded 10.