Published September 13, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS – Denard Span had a game-ending RBI double in the 10th inning and the Minnesota Twins rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.
Trailing 3-1, the Twins capitalized on a bases-loaded walk by Royals closer Greg Holland in the eighth and Trevor Plouffe's homer in the ninth to tie it.
Alexi Casilla led off 10th with a double to right-center off Francisley Bueno (1-1) that fell just beyond the glove of diving center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who injured his leg on the play and had to leave the game. Span then hit a double over the head of right fielder Eric Hosmer for the win.
Closer Glen Perkins (3-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.
Josh Willingham also connected for Minnesota and Salvador Perez had two RBIs for the Royals.
After being stymied by Royals starter Luis Mendoza for most of six innings and reliever Aaron Crow for one, Minnesota loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth against reliever Kelvin Herrera before Holland entered and walked Willingham to make it 3-2.
Plouffe homered leading off the ninth to tie the game 3-all. The Royals lost for the third time in 57 games when leading after eight innings.
Mendoza, who had allowed 13 earned runs in 15 1-3 innings over his past three starts, kept the ball down and allowed two hits while striking out six.
After allowing Willingham's home run and a single to Justin Morneau in the first inning, Mendoza retired 14 of the next 16 Minnesota batters, including four of five by strikeout at one point. The two Twins to reach were by walk.
Minnesota starter Liam Hendriks overcame a rough start to allow seven hits and three earned runs over five innings. He walked two and struck out three.
Hendriks became the fifth player since 1920 to go winless in his first 17 career starts. The record is 20 set by Bill Caudill of the Cubs (1979-81) and Oakland's Mike Mohler (1993-97). Besides his 13 starts this year, Hendriks was 0-2 with four starts for Minnesota in 2011. However, he was 9-3 at Triple-A Rochester this season.
Hendriks needed 30 pitches to get through the first inning, struggling to attack the zone and get ahead of hitters. After a single by Alcides Escobar and a four-pitch walk to Alex Gordon, Billy Butler grounded out before Perez laced a two-run single to center.
Willingham countered with his 34th home run in the bottom of the inning.
David Lough tripled to lead of the Kansas City fifth and scored on a two-out double by Butler to make it 3-1.
NOTES: Butler was ejected in the 10th inning for arguing a called strike. ... Kansas City had not swept a series in Minnesota since winning four straight May 7-10, 1999. ... Twins All-Star Joe Mauer missed his third straight game due to back spasms. ... Minnesota starting pitcher Cole De Vries is done for the year after an MRI Thursday revealed a cracked rib. The right-hander finishes 5-5 with a 4.11 ERA in his rookie season. ... Minnesota C/OF Ryan Doumit is day to day with a strained muscle in his rib cage. ... Esmerling Vasquez (0-1, 9.35) is scheduled to start Friday for Minnesota when it welcomes Chicago to start a three-game series. The White Sox will send Chris Sale (16-6, 2.88) to the mound. Kansas City returns home to face Los Angeles Friday with Bruce Chen (10-12, 5.36) scheduled to face the Angels C.J. Wilson (12-9, 3.69).