|Minnesota (41-39) «||0||1||1||0||0||1||0||2||0||5||8||0|
|Kansas City (33-44)||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||1||12||2|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Joe Mauer has enough hits to lead the major leagues in batting average. Soon, he'll have enough plate appearances.
Mauer went 3 for 3 Wednesday in the Minnesota Twins' 5-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals, raising his average to .392. He's eight plate appearances short of the 3.1 per game needed to qualify for the batting race.
"If I have anything to do with it, he'll qualify," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I don't mind writing his name in there. He'll get plenty of at-bats."
"It's nice to shake hands after a game on the road," said Mauer, who sandwiched two walks around three singles off Gil Meche (4-8).
"I felt like I went in there knowing Meche," he said. "He's got great stuff. I was just trying to keep it simple, go up the middle, and it seemed to work. I felt a lot better. That's how it is, you feel pretty good heading into an off day."
Perkins held the Royals to 10 hits in seven innings as the Twins improved to two games over .500 for the first time all year. Seven times earlier this season, they'd reached one game over only to fall back.
"We're there!" said Cuddyer, whose 398-foot home run gave the Twins a 1-0 lead in the second. "Hopefully, we can continue to win so we don't have to hear about it any more."
Perkins (4-4) allowed one run for the second straight start. Joe Nathan got the final out for his 21st save in 23 opportunities, and his 32nd in 35 chances against Kansas City.
Meche, whose "dead arm" the previous two starts had created concern among the Royals, gave up three runs -- two earned -- six hits and five walks in six inning. He immediately showed regained velocity, striking out Justin Morneau in the first inning with a 98 mph fastball.
"I was still throwing in the mid-90s," said Meche. "I tried to squeeze out that sixth inning and just couldn't get Mauer to finish the inning."
Kansas City's Billy Butler was 4 for 4 with two singles and two doubles. He doubled home the Royals' run in the sixth.
"Obviously, I had a good day. But we just couldn't get the big hit we needed," Butler said. "But that's the way it's going right now."
Mauer's RBI single put the Twins on top 3-0 in the sixth. The Twins added two in the eighth after reliever Robinson Tejeda had struck out the first two batters. Denard Span and Matt Tolbert singled, and Mauer was walked intentionally. John Bale relieved and forced in runs with bases-loaded walks to Brian Buscher and Cuddyer.
The Twins had three players get hurt, but none of the injuries was thought to be serious. Catcher Mike Redmond left in the fifth inning after getting hit on the forearm by a foul tip, and X-rays were negative. After the top of the seventh inning, shortstop Nick Punto came out with tightness in his lower back. Morneau, the first baseman, departed with tightness in the left groin.
"It should be good to go by Friday," Morneau said. "We've got a day off tomorrow. We didn't want to make it any worse. I felt like if there was a ball to my right, a play I've got to dive for, I could have made it a lot worse. So it was just better to come out."
|Joe Mauer ups his average to .392. He needs eight more plate appearances to qualify for the league lead. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Denard Span, LF||5||1||2||0||0||1||3||.282|
|Matt Tolbert, 2B||4||1||1||1||1||0||1||.187|
|Joe Mauer, DH||3||1||3||1||2||0||0||.392|
|Justin Morneau, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||4||.309|
|Brian Buscher, 1B||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.198|
|Michael Cuddyer, RF||3||1||1||2||2||0||0||.277|
|Joe Crede, 3B||5||0||0||0||0||1||5||.233|
|Mike Redmond, C||3||0||0||0||0||0||4||.229|
|Jose Morales, C||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.356|
|Carlos Gomez, CF||4||1||1||0||1||2||0||.229|
|Nick Punto, SS||2||0||0||0||1||1||1||.212|
|Brendan Harris, SS||2||0||0||0||0||2||0||.285|
|2B - Carlos Gomez (9, Meche)|
|HR - Michael Cuddyer (12, Meche)|
|RBI - Matt Tolbert (11), Joe Mauer (44), Michael Cuddyer 2 (42)|
|2-OUT RBI - Matt Tolbert (4), Joe Mauer (18), Michael Cuddyer (11)|
|SB - Denard Span (13, 2nd base off Tejeda/B. Pena)|
|Team LOB - 13|
|DP - Perkins-Punto-Morneau, Tolbert-Punto-Morneau, Tolbert-Punto-Morneau|
|Glen Perkins (W,4-4)||7||10||1||1||0||1||0||4.38|
|Joe Nathan (S,21)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.44|
|Pitches-Strikes - Glen Perkins 89-60, R.A. Dickey 30-18, Joe Nathan 10-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Glen Perkins 14-3, Joe Nathan 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Glen Perkins 28, R.A. Dickey 8, Joe Nathan 1|
|Kansas City Royals|
|David DeJesus, LF||5||1||2||0||0||0||4||.245|
|Willie Bloomquist, RF||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.266|
|Billy Butler, 1B||4||0||4||0||0||0||0||.293|
|Jose Guillen, DH||4||0||1||1||0||0||3||.254|
|Mark Teahen, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||4||.285|
|Alberto Callaspo, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.298|
|Brayan Pena, C||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.325|
|Luis Hernandez, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.174|
|Mitch Maier, CF||3||0||1||0||1||1||0||.235|
|2B - Billy Butler 2 (22, Perkins, Dickey)|
|RBI - Jose Guillen (34)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|E - Willie Bloomquist (5, Dropped fly), Alberto Callaspo (9, Misplayed grounder)|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Gil Meche (L,4-8)||6||6||3||2||5||5||1||4.20|
|IBB - Mauer by Robinson Tejeda|
|Pitches-Strikes - Gil Meche 121-74, Robinson Tejeda 29-20, John Bale 12-4, Roman Colon 2-2, Ron Mahay 12-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gil Meche 8-7, Robinson Tejeda 1-2, Roman Colon 1-0, Ron Mahay 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Gil Meche 31, Robinson Tejeda 8, John Bale 2, Roman Colon 1, Ron Mahay 3|
|Attendance - 18906|
|Game Time - 3:03|
|Temperature - 78|
|Umpires - Home - Dan Iassogna, First Base - Charlie Reliford, Second Base - Larry Vanover, Third Base - Sam Holbrook|