Minneapolis, MN – Josh Willingham went 3-for-5 with a two-run triple and two runs scored as the Minnesota Twins topped the Kansas City Royals, 7-4, in the finale of a rain-shortened two-game series at Target Field.
Danny Valencia ripped an RBI triple among his three hits, Ryan Doumit added a pair of RBI and Joe Mauer contributed an RBI single for the Twins, who snapped a six-game skid.
Jason Marquis (2-0) worked six effective innings, giving up three runs on six hits and no walks while fanning one. Jared Burton and Glen Perkins tossed scoreless seventh and eighth innings, respectively, and Matt Capps gave up a run in the ninth, but survived to close it out for the Twins.
"I just tried to attack the strike zone and get early outs," Marquis said. "They were aggressive, so if you execute your pitches, you'll get a lot of quick outs."
Mike Moustakas clubbed a solo homer and added an RBI single, while Eric Hosmer and Alcides Escobar had an RBI each for the Royals, who had their three-game winning streak halted. Billy Butler added three hits in the loss.
Bruce Chen (0-3) was hammered for six runs on six hits and two walks while fanning one in just 2 2/3 innings of work.
The Twins struck first in their first at-bat after Denard Span drew a leadoff walk and Jamey Carroll followed with a single. Mauer beat out an infield single to score Span and Willingham followed with a triple off the center field wall to make it 3-0. After Justin Morneau struck out, Valencia singled home Willingham for a 4-0 Minnesota lead.
Kansas City quickly got a run back in the second when Moustakas blasted a middle-in fastball over the wall in the right-center field to make it 4-1.
The Twins extended their lead to 6-1 in the third. Willingham ripped a double to center to start things, then, after Morneau popped out, Valencia cracked a triple into the left-center field gap to plate Willingham and Doumit followed with a sacrifice fly.
The Royals made it a three-run game in the fourth when Gordon doubled and Butler followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Gordon then scored on a groundout by Hosmer, who then came around to score on a Moustakas single.
Minnesota added a run in the seventh after Morneau cracked a one-out double and, after Valencia struck out, Doumit came up with a clutch RBI double to center to extend the Twins lead to four.
The Royals cut the deficit to three in the ninth on an RBI base hit into right field by Escobar, but they could not muster any more offense.
"We fought hard," said Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur. "But, when you get down 6-1, it's hard to come back in this game."
Minnesota improved to 3-8 at home this season...Willingham returned to the starting lineup after missing two games on the paternity list to attend the birth of his son...The Twins are 4-3 when they score first and 1-3 in games played on Sunday this season...Kansas City went 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded six, while Minnesota was 5-for-14 with men in scoring position while leaving nine on base.