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Kansas City at Minnesota

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Kansas City (52-51) «0040000127120
Minnesota (45-58)100100000250

Royals roll past Twins for seventh straight win

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Ervin Santana heard his name bandied about in trade rumors in recent weeks, with yet another season threatening to swirl down the drain in Kansas City.

Thanks to a post-All-Star break surge, the Royals no longer appear to be in selling mode.

Mike Moustakas homered twice and drove in four runs to back another strong start by Santana, and the Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 7-2 Tuesday night for their seventh straight victory.

Santana (7-6) gave up two runs on four hits and struck out eight in seven innings and Eric Hosmer had three hits and an RBI for the Royals, who have won nine of 11 coming out of the All-Star break. At 52-51, they are over .500 for the first time since May 18.

"Everything so far [is going right]," Santana said. "Our defense, offense, pitching very good. Everything is very good for us right now."

Mike Pelfrey (4-9) gave up four runs on eight hits with four strikeouts in four innings for the Twins. Joe Mauer had two hits and an RBI after missing the last week for the birth of his twin girls.

Santana retired the last 10 batters he faced, striking out five of them. Miguel Tejada added two hits and an RBI.

"He's the magic man," Moustakas said of Santana. "It's awesome. Any time he goes out on the mound, you know he's going to deal, you know he's going to hold them under two runs and we just gotta go score a couple for him."

After missing six games on paternity leave, Mauer promptly ripped a single to left field on the first pitch he saw from Santana for a 1-0 lead.

"It felt good to get out there," Mauer said. "I haven't been out there in a while. But I was surprisingly good with the timing at the plate. I'm pleased, I guess, with that."

The Royals were having difficulty squaring the ball up against Pelfrey in the early going, with Tejada picking up two bloop singles, the last a dribbler up the middle that got Kansas City on the board in the third. Moustakas followed with a long, three-run homer to right-center, one of the deepest parts of Target Field.

Moustakas drove a pitch from Brian Duensing over the wall in right field in the eighth for his second career multi-homer game.

"Taking hundreds of swings every day and just trying to get that good feel back," said Moustakas, who is hitting .303 with three homers since the break. "Feeling the barrel and today I found it. Keep working and keep building off of this."

The specter of the non-waiver trade deadline on Wednesday afternoon was hanging over both teams as they opened the series. The Twins are mired in their third straight losing season, a miserable, lifeless year in which they've shown few signs of being competitive in an AL Central division that could be the worst in baseball.

Longtime cornerstone Justin Morneau has heard his name raised in trade rumors, as have several of the team's accomplished relievers, including setup man Jared Burton and left-hander Duensing. General manager Terry Ryan said before the game that it was no secret the team was in sell mode, but he said he couldn't make a prediction of whether a deal would get done before the deadline at 4 p.m. EDT Wednesday.

Santana took the mound with his name bandied about as a possible trade candidate as well. That he was allowed to pitch against the Twins could be a strong indication that he's unlikely to change teams. While the White Sox pulled Jake Peavy from his scheduled start against the Indians on Tuesday night amid trade speculation, Santana took the mound and shut down the Twins.

Pitching hasn't been the problem the entire year for the Royals. But now that their offense appears to be coming around, things are looking up.

"We feel like Moose has been coming. [Hosmer] has been coming," manager Ned Yost said. "These kids are really starting to swing the bat really well."

Notes

  • Moustakas' first career multi-homer game was on June 24, 2012, against St. Louis.
  • Royals 2B Chris Getz (left knee) and CF Lorenzo Cain (groin) were given the day off to rest nagging injuries. Both are day to day.
  • Twins 2B Brian Dozier had an MRI on a sore knee, but Ryan said the exam came back clean. He was held out of the game for precautionary reasons.
  • The Twins send RHP Kevin Correia (7-7, 4.56) to the mound for Game 2 on Wednesday night to face Royals RHP Jeremy Guthrie (10-7, 4.27).
 
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The Royals' Ervin Santana yields two runs and four hits while striking out eight in seven innings against the Twins. (USATSI)
The Royals' Ervin Santana yields two runs and four hits while striking out eight in seven innings against the Twins. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

E. Santana
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 2
BB 1
K 8
Kansas City

M. Moustakas
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 4
 
Kansas City Royals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Alex Gordon, LF4120102 .271
Eric Hosmer, 1B5131011 .288
Billy Butler, DH5000026 .276
Salvador Perez, C4120102 .279
David Lough, RF4001014 .291
Miguel Tejada, 2B4121010 .292
   Elliot Johnson, 2B1000012 .199
Mike Moustakas, 3B3224110 .224
Alcides Escobar, SS4000002 .238
Jarrod Dyson, CF4110012 .275
Totals38712738  
Batting
2B - Eric Hosmer (19, Duensing)
HR - Mike Moustakas 2 (9, Pelfrey)
SF - David Lough (2)
RBI - Eric Hosmer (46), David Lough (23), Miguel Tejada (16), Mike Moustakas 4 (24)
2-OUT RBI - Miguel Tejada (3), Mike Moustakas 4 (13)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Perez-Escobar
Kansas City Royals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Ervin Santana (W,7-6) 7422180 3.03
Tim Collins (H,14) 1000000 4.42
Luke Hochevar 1100110 1.76
Pitches-Strikes - Ervin Santana 113-76, Tim Collins 8-5, Luke Hochevar 25-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ervin Santana 8-4, Tim Collins 1-2, Luke Hochevar 1-1
Batters Faced - Ervin Santana 25, Tim Collins 3, Luke Hochevar 5
Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Clete Thomas, LF4110010 .227
Jamey Carroll, 2B4110010 .217
Joe Mauer, C4021011 .326
Justin Morneau, 1B3000112 .262
Ryan Doumit, RF3011110 .242
Chris Colabello, DH4000013 .192
Trevor Plouffe, 3B3000002 .245
Aaron Hicks, CF3000010 .194
Pedro Florimon, SS3000020 .229
Totals3125229  
Batting
RBI - Joe Mauer (35), Ryan Doumit (43)
CS - Joe Mauer (1, 2nd base by Santana/Perez)
Team LOB - 4
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Mike Pelfrey (L,4-9) 4844241 5.31
Ryan Pressly 3000020 3.20
Brian Duensing 1433011 4.76
Josh Roenicke 1000110 3.35
IBB - Perez by Josh Roenicke
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Pelfrey 93-57, Ryan Pressly 34-24, Brian Duensing 16-13, Josh Roenicke 19-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Pelfrey 3-5, Ryan Pressly 3-4, Brian Duensing 1-1
Batters Faced - Mike Pelfrey 22, Ryan Pressly 9, Brian Duensing 7, Josh Roenicke 4
Game Information
Attendance - 33085
Game Time - 3:02
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Paul Nauert, Second Base - Doug Eddings, Third Base - Dana DeMuth