(Friday, July 20th)
Final Score: Minnesota 2, Kansas City 1 (11 innings)
Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) - Josh Willingham singled in the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning, propelling the Twins to a 2-1 victory over the Royals in the opener of a three-game set Friday at Kauffman Stadium.
"I was just trying to drive him in," Willingham said of the go-ahead RBI hit. "I wasn't really trying to do anything special. Just get something out over the plate and stay through the middle of the field."
After the Twins squandered a leadoff triple in the 10th, Joe Mauer doubled to start the 11th off Royals reliever Jonathan Broxton (1-2) and Willingham followed with a single through the right side of the infield to plate Mauer and give the Twins a one-run lead.
"Two percent of Willingham's balls are hit in that hole," said Royals manager Ned Yost of Willingham's go-ahead base hit. "They just hit the holes. That's all I can say."
Glen Perkins fired a scoreless bottom of the 11th to nail down his fifth save of the year as the Twins won for just the third time in eight games since the All-Star break.
Casey Fien (1-0) earned the victory after tossing a pair of perfect innings in relief. Dustin Mastroianni added a solo homer in the victory.
Mastroianni's second homer of the season gave the Twins a 1-0 lead in the second before the Kansas City offense got things going in the seventh as Eric Hosmer singled to start the frame.
Minnesota starter Nick Blackburn retired the next two Royals, but Yuniesky Betancourt came through with a two-out double to left to plate Hosmer and knot the game at 1-1.
Mastroianni stroked a leadoff triple off Greg Holland in the top of the 10th, but Holland got Alexi Casilla to groundout to shortstop before fanning Ben Revere and Jamey Carroll to escape the inning unscathed.
Kansas City threatened in the bottom of the 11th as Alcides Escobar doubled to start the frame and moved to third on Billy Butler's fly out to right.
Mike Moustakas then grounded sharply to second baseman Casilla, who fired home to cut down Escobar at the plate for the second out.
Perkins then induced a groundout from Jarrod Dyson to end the game and send the Royals to their ninth loss in their last 11 games.
Blackburn allowed just one run on seven hits with two strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings...Royals starter Luke Hochevar was charged for one run on five hits with six strikeouts over seven frames...Minnesota third baseman Trevor Plouffe finished 0-for-3 to snap a career-high 17-game hit-streak. He left the game in the ninth inning with an injured hand...The Royals traded left-hander Jonathan Sanchez to the Colorado Rockies on Friday for righty Jeremy Guthrie.
07/21 01:49:15 ET