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Kansas City at Minnesota

Scoreboard
Kansas City «32000500010112
Minnesota0033000006110

Royals 10, Twins 6

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Kansas City Royals can see a better future, even if it is a little clouded at the moment by all those defeats.

Mike Sweeney went 3-for-4 with a homer and five RBI, helping the Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 10-6 on Thursday night and avoid setting the club record for losses in a season.

Mark Teahen and John Buck hit solo home runs in a five-run sixth inning off rookie Travis Bowyer (0-1), who then gave up two singles before Sweeney crushed the first pitch he saw into the left-center field seats to give Kansas City a 10-6 lead.

"I never really doubted the character of this team," said manager Buddy Bell, who took over in May after Tony Pena was fired. "Inexperience shows, and that's something we've got to live with, but the character has always been there.

"We've got a lot of young guys that need to show progress if we're going to get better, and I think they will."

The Royals (55-104) must sweep a three-game series against the Blue Jays this weekend to keep from becoming the losingest team in franchise history. They went 58-104 last year.

"This late in the year," Sweeney said, "we put the emphasis on not quitting and definitely not packing our bags until that last out in Toronto."

Nick Punto hit a two-run homer, and Luis Rodriguez had a three-run homer for Minnesota (80-79), which needs one more victory during a three-game series against Detroit to ensure a fifth consecutive winning season -- something that has never happened in the club's 45 years.

That's not much consolation for the Twins, whose streak of three straight AL Central titles officially ended earlier in the day when Chicago clinched.

"It's been a long year," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We've been through a lot of ups and downs, so hopefully we'll come out and put forth a great effort this weekend."

D.J. Carrasco (6-8), making his first relief appearance this year, pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the victory after starter Mike Wood left trailing 6-5.

"We just want to end on a good note," Carrasco said, "and play some good baseball."

Joe Mays had what was likely his last outing for Minnesota, allowing five runs in five innings. He labored through the first two innings, before settling down and retiring the last 11 men he faced.

But the damage was done to Mays, who gave up five hits and three walks while striking out four. After winning 17 games in 2001 and signing a $20 million, four-year contract, Mays was never the same. He missed the entire 2004 season following reconstructive elbow surgery and went 6-10 in 31 games, 26 starts, with a 5.65 ERA this year. The Twins have an option on his contract for 2006 that won't be picked up.

"He battled his tail off," Gardenhire said. "I tip my hat for him for that."

Mays has won only 18 games since his All-Star season in 2001, but he believes he'll come back stronger next year as most pitchers who have the "Tommy John" surgery do in the second season after the operation. Whether that's with Minnesota remains to be seen.

"If it's in the plans, great," he said. "If not, you've got to cut your ties and move on and start a career somewhere else."

The best news for Kansas City came from the front office -- the signing of third baseman Alex Gordon, the second overall pick in the June draft who helped lead Nebraska to the College World Series.

On the field, where a second consecutive miserable season has taken place, the rebuilding Royals offered an extended look at the three prospects they acquired in last summer's trade of All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran.

Wood, who moved into the rotation in August and made his 10th start, couldn't hold a 5-0 lead and lasted only four innings -- allowing seven hits and six runs. His ERA as a starter jumped to 4.85.

But Buck and Teahen, who have struggled offensively as regulars at catcher and third base, respectively, sparked the rally in the sixth with their solo shots off Bowyer, who is still trying to figure out how to throw an effective breaking ball.

"In this league, you're going to get hammered if you just throw fastballs," Gardenhire said.

Notes

The last time the Twins allowed three homers in one inning was on Aug. 12, 2003, against Cleveland. ... Matt Stairs had an RBI single and Angel Berroa added a two-run single in the first. ... Punto's homer was the first by Minnesota in a week, spanning 202 at-bats.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Kansas City

M. Sweeney
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 5
Minnesota

L. Rodriguez
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Kansas City Royals
Aaron Guiel, CF5110041 .289
Terrence Long, RF3210201 .280
Mike Sweeney, DH4235100 .298
Matt Stairs, 1B5111013 .270
Emil Brown, LF4000112 .288
Mark Teahen, 3B5111025 .244
Angel Berroa, SS4012010 .271
John Buck, C4111002 .241
Andres Blanco, 2B4220000 .203
Totals381011104914 
Batting
2B - Mike Sweeney (39, Mays)
HR - Mike Sweeney (21, Bowyer), Mark Teahen (7, Bowyer), John Buck (12, Bowyer)
RBI - Mike Sweeney 5 (83), Matt Stairs (65), Mark Teahen (54), Angel Berroa 2 (55), John Buck (46)
2-OUT RBI - Mike Sweeney 3 (32), Angel Berroa 2 (25)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
E - Angel Berroa (23, wild throw), Emil Brown (12, wild throw)
Kansas City Royals
Mike Wood 4766202 4.46
D.J. Carrasco (W,6-8) 1.1100120 4.79
Jimmy Gobble (H,4) 1.2200010 5.64
Jeremy Affeldt 1100110 5.36
Mike MacDougal 1000010 3.38
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Wood 77-46, D.J. Carrasco 25-14, Jimmy Gobble 23-15, Jeremy Affeldt 23-11, Mike MacDougal 15-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Wood 6-7, D.J. Carrasco 2-0, Jimmy Gobble 1-3, Jeremy Affeldt 2-0, Mike MacDougal 1-1
Batters Faced - Mike Wood 22, D.J. Carrasco 6, Jimmy Gobble 7, Jeremy Affeldt 5, Mike MacDougal 3
Minnesota Twins
Nick Punto, 2B4222112 .241
Luis Rodriguez, 3B4233102 .264
Joe Mauer, C5010004 .298
Jacque Jones, DH5010015 .250
Lew Ford, CF5011001 .260
Justin Morneau, 1B5000012 .234
Michael Cuddyer, RF5020010 .263
Jason Tyner, LF2100102 .306
   a- Brent Abernathy, PH-LF1000012 .239
Jason Bartlett, SS3110101 .242
Totals3961164521 
a-struck out for Tyner in the 7th
Batting
2B - Nick Punto (18, Affeldt), Luis Rodriguez 2 (10, Wood, Wood)
HR - Nick Punto (4, Wood), Luis Rodriguez (2, Wood)
RBI - Nick Punto 2 (26), Luis Rodriguez 3 (18), Lew Ford (53)
2-OUT RBI - Luis Rodriguez 3 (8), Lew Ford (36)
Team LOB - 10
Minnesota Twins
Joe Mays 5555340 5.65
Travis Bowyer (BS,1; L,0-1) 1555023 5.59
Matt Guerrier 3100130 3.49
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Mays 91-55, Travis Bowyer 37-21, Matt Guerrier 41-27
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Mays 5-6, Travis Bowyer 1-0, Matt Guerrier 4-2
Batters Faced - Joe Mays 23, Travis Bowyer 8, Matt Guerrier 11
Game Information
Attendance - 14638
Game Time - 2:59
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Joe West, First Base - Mark Carlson, Second Base - Brian Gorman, Third Base - Mike DiMuro