Minneapolis, MN – Mike Moustakas had two home runs and four RBI, and the Kansas City Royals defeated the Minnesota Twins, 7-2, in the opener of a three-game series at Target Field.
Miguel Tejada, David Lough and Eric Hosmer had one RBI apiece for the Royals, who are on a seven-game winning streak and are above .500 (52-51) this late in the season for the first time since 2003.
"But we still have 59 games to go," Royals manager Ned Yost Said. "Good for us ... but the focus is day-to-day. We need to keep it going. The important thing is to keep winning."
Ervin Santana (7-6) gave up two runs on four hits and a walk while fanning eight over seven innings. He's allowed five runs in 23 1/3 innings since surrendering eight runs against the Yankees on July 11.
Joe Mauer who returned from the restricted list after his wife gave birth to twins, went 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Twins. Ryan Doumit drove in the other run for Minnesota, which saw starter Mike Pelfrey (4-9) last just four innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and a pair of walks.
"He (Santana) made it tough for us," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "But you have to look at the pace of the game and late, I thought we were going to get back into this one, but Santana didn't let us."
Mauer got Minnesota on the board in the first with a one-out single that plated Clete Thomas, who singled to start the inning.
However, the Royals took the lead for good with four runs in the third. Hosmer hit a leadoff single and Salvador Perez singled to left center two batters later. Tejada plated Hosmer with a base hit to center and Moustakas capped the inning with a three-run shot to right center.
Doumit delivered an RBI single in the fourth, but both sides would struggle offensively until the top of the eighth.
With two outs, Moustakas clubbed a 1-2 slider off Brian Duensing over the right field wall to give the Royals a 5-2 lead.
In the ninth, Jarrod Dyson and Alex Gordon hit back-to-back singles to begin the frame and Hosmer knocked an RBI double to right.
Josh Roenicke replaced Duensing and got Billy Butler to fly out, then intentionally walked Perez. Lough then scored Gordon with a sacrifice fly to left.
In the bottom of the inning, Mauer hit a one-out infield single and Doumit was walked with two outs, but Luke Hochevear struck out Chris Colabello to end the game.
The Twins unveiled their 2014 All-Star Game logo prior to the game ... Santana has logged at least six innings in 20 of 21 starts this season. Opponents are hitting .228 against him, eighth-best in the American League ... Hochevar has not allowed a run over 15 innings in his last 14 appearances, dating back to June 23 ... Pelfrey is 0-2 with a 9.49 ERA in three career starts against Kansas City ... The Royals are 25-19 in intra-division games and 12-3 when they have multiple homers in a game.