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Minnesota at Kansas City

Minnesota (22-34) «100020100491
Kansas City (24-31)200000000271

Twins 4, Royals 2

CBSSports.com wire reports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Nick Blackburn stopped overthinking and started getting outs.

Blackburn shook off a slow start and pitched five effective innings, helping the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 4-2 on Wednesday night.

Justin Morneau hit a go-ahead, two-run single with two out in the fifth as Minnesota won for the fourth time in five games. Morneau, Ben Revere and Ryan Doumit each had two hits.

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Blackburn (2-4), who was making his first start since coming off the disabled list following a left quad strain, allowed two runs and five hits. He threw 92 pitches while lowering his ERA from 8.37 to 7.75.

"He was looking really strong," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "His ball was sinking and he had a plan. When a guy can go out there like that, that's a confidence booster for them."

Yuniesky Betancourt hit a two-run homer in the first, but that was it for the Royals. Four Twins relievers combined for four innings of two-hit ball, with Matt Capps tossing a perfect ninth to log his 14th save in 15 opportunities.

Blackburn attributed the shaky first to a recurring problem.

"It's the same thing I've been going through for a while," he said. "I'm thinking too much. In the second inning I told myself to take my brain out of it a little. I was thinking about the same thing too much. To be a part of a win when they didn't have to score seven for me is big, to be a part of a low-scoring win.

"I needed to go out there with confidence. Obviously I was not trusting my stuff. Tonight was a big step in that direction in trusting my stuff."

Royals right-hander Felipe Paulino faced four batters in the first inning before leaving with a strained right groin. Paulino was injured on his 13th and final pitch, retiring Morneau on a fly ball.

"He got the popup to Morneau and when he went to cover third base, he felt something in his groin," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "They're checking it and we're seeing exactly what it is.

"It does change your plan a little bit. There are always things that pop up over the year that you have to make an adjustment. Hopefully this won't be one of them, but we'll just have to wait and see what the extent of it and how bad it really is. Right now we just don't know."

Paulino, who began the season on the disabled list with a right forearm strain, is 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA and had not allowed a run in four of his first six starts.

Luis Mendoza (2-3) came in and pitched five innings, yielding two runs and five hits.

Morneau's bases-loaded hit in the fifth scored Revere and Jamey Carroll, giving the Twins a 3-2 lead. Revere also tripled and scored on Carroll's single in the seventh for Minnesota's final run.

The Twins scored an unearned run in the first after shortstop Betancourt committed an error. Doumit's double brought home Carroll, who reached on Betancourt's third error in five games.


C Joe Mauer, who has a career .348 batting average against the Royals, did not play in the three-game series because of a sprained right thumb. Mauer hasn't swung a bat since the injury Sunday, but has been able to catch bullpen sessions. ... CF Denard Span, mired in an 0-for-14 skid, was held out of the Twins lineup. ... SS Alcides Escobar, who committed three errors in the previous four games and is hitless in his past 11 at-bats, was not in the Royals lineup, getting a breather. He had started 53 of the first 54 games. ... Royals 1B Eric Hosmer singled in the fourth, extending his hitting streak to nine games. ... Twins LF Josh Willingham is hitting .361 in his 10-game hitting streak after a first-inning single. ... The Twins, who have the worst record in the AL, won their third consecutive series. ... Both clubs are off Thursday.

Copyright 2015 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

J. Morneau
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
Kansas City

Y. Betancourt
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

Related Video

Minnesota Twins
Ben Revere, CF5220001 .307
Jamey Carroll, 3B4211110 .239
Josh Willingham, LF3010011 .286
Justin Morneau, DH4022013 .237
Ryan Doumit, C4021003 .255
Trevor Plouffe, 1B4000013 .186
Brian Dozier, SS4000001 .246
Alexi Casilla, 2B3000120 .232
Darin Mastroianni, RF4010001 .152
2B - Ryan Doumit (6, Mendoza)
3B - Ben Revere (2, Herrera)
RBI - Jamey Carroll (17), Justin Morneau 2 (31), Ryan Doumit (27)
2-OUT RBI - Justin Morneau 2 (8), Ryan Doumit (14)
SB - Alexi Casilla (8, 2nd base off Herrera/Quintero)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Carroll-Casilla-Plouffe
E - Brian Dozier (8, Misplayed grounder)
Minnesota Twins
Nick Blackburn (W,2-4) 5522211 7.75
Jeff Manship (H,1) 1100000 3.86
Jared Burton (H,9) 1.1000030 3.57
Glen Perkins (H,9) 0.2100010 3.00
Matt Capps (S,14) 1000010 3.22
Pitches-Strikes - Nick Blackburn 92-51, Jeff Manship 21-16, Jared Burton 17-13, Glen Perkins 13-9, Matt Capps 20-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nick Blackburn 7-7, Jeff Manship 1-2, Jared Burton 1-0, Matt Capps 2-0
Batters Faced - Nick Blackburn 22, Jeff Manship 4, Jared Burton 4, Glen Perkins 3, Matt Capps 3
Kansas City Royals
Alex Gordon, LF3110101 .242
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS4112012 .277
Billy Butler, DH4010010 .296
Mike Moustakas, 3B4010002 .278
Jeff Francoeur, RF4000001 .274
Eric Hosmer, 1B3010111 .220
Johnny Giavotella, 2B4010013 .226
Jarrod Dyson, CF4010001 .265
Humberto Quintero, C3000011 .227
   a- Brayan Pena, PH1000010 .266
a-struck out for Quintero in the 9th
HR - Yuniesky Betancourt (2, Blackburn)
RBI - Yuniesky Betancourt 2 (7)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Moustakas-Hosmer, Betancourt-Hosmer
E - Yuniesky Betancourt (4, Misplayed grounder)
Kansas City Royals
Felipe Paulino 0.2110000 1.67
Luis Mendoza (L,2-3) 5522220 5.36
Kelvin Herrera 0.2211010 3.34
Jose Mijares 0.2000010 2.19
Aaron Crow 1000010 3.20
Greg Holland 1100010 4.76
HBP - Willingham (by Luis Mendoza)
Pitches-Strikes - Felipe Paulino 9-6, Luis Mendoza 71-41, Kelvin Herrera 13-8, Jose Mijares 8-6, Aaron Crow 16-9, Greg Holland 10-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Felipe Paulino 2-1, Luis Mendoza 7-5, Kelvin Herrera 1-0, Aaron Crow 1-1, Greg Holland 1-0
Batters Faced - Felipe Paulino 4, Luis Mendoza 22, Kelvin Herrera 4, Jose Mijares 2, Aaron Crow 3, Greg Holland 3
Game Information
Attendance - 18386
Game Time - 3:04
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Alfonso Marquez, First Base - Cory Blaser, Second Base - Tom Hallion, Third Base - Chad Fairchild