Minnesota at Kansas City

Scoreboard
Minnesota (8-8)000000000080
Kansas City (8-7) «00201200x5110

Vargas,Royals shut down Twins

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jason Vargas began tinkering sometime between the second and third inning, after his pitch count had risen perilously high yet he'd managed to wiggle out of three straight jams.

Whatever he did seemed to work.

The left-hander wound up pitching seven shutdown innings, Mike Moustakas cracked a two-run homer and the Kansas City Royals romped to a 5-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.

Vargas (2-0), who signed a $32 million, four-year deal in the offseason, allowed seven hits while striking out four in another dazzling start. The crafty left-hander lowered his ERA to 1.24 while going at least seven innings in each of his four outings this season.

"I don't know, man. I've had games where I pitched well and games where I haven't. I don't really think about it," Vargas said. "I just take the ball every fifth day."

Vargas put runners on base each of the first five innings, though he was never in serious trouble. Only twice did a runner reach second base and each time a lazy fly ball ended the inning.

"He's got a good plan and he sticks to it. Every time we got someone on he found a way to get out of it," said the Twins' Chris Colabello. "He's a pitcher, not just a thrower."

Even when the Twins hit a ball hard, Alex Gordon was there to make a play.

The Royals' Gold Glove left-fielder threw a strike from the warning track to second base in the fourth inning, cutting down Josmil Pinto as he tried to stretch a single. Two innings later, Gordon made a running catch into the padding in foul territory on Joe Mauer's fly ball.

"That one was easy," Gordon said with a smile.

Alcides Escobar had three hits and Omar Infante also drove in two runs for the Royals, who followed up a sweep at the hands of Minnesota last weekend by sweeping Houston and then taking the first of their three-game set against the Twins this weekend.

Ricky Nolasco (1-2) gave up five runs on 11 hits in 5 2-3 innings for the Twins. He was coming off a 7-1 win over Kansas City in which he allowed one run on four hits in eight innings.

"It's not tough. You just have to go out and keep making pitches," Nolasco said. "Obviously there was the homer, but I hung with them. They put guys on base and capitalized on it."

Escobar sent a charge through the Royals' anemic offense with a double in the third inning, and consecutive singles by Nori Aoki, Infante and Eric Hosmer staked them to a 2-0 lead.

Infante's single drove in Escobar to make it 3-0 in the fifth.

Billy Butler, in the throes of a massive slump, singled in the sixth before Moustakas, also off to a slow start, sent a pitch sizzling into the seats in right. His second homer of the season made it 5-0 and chased Nolasco from the game.

"Ricky had to battle. They put them in play and got some guys on. And then there was the big two-run home run," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We just couldn't get anything off Vargas."

Neither team threatened to score again, the Royals wrapping up their first shutout win and the Twins getting blanked for the first time this season.

"That's the beauty of this game, why it's so special," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "You don't know what you're going to get out of anybody. You just have to take advantage of the opportunities that you get."

Notes

The Royals placed OF Jarrod Dyson on the bereavement list and recalled INF/OF Jimmy Paredes was recalled from Triple-A Omaha before the game. ... An MRI exam on Royals OF Lorenzo Cain (strained groin) came back negative. Manager Ned Yost hopes to have him back after a 15-day DL stint. ... Twins OF Jason Kubel got the night off from the starting lineup. He flied out as a pinch hitter in the seventh. ... LHP Bruce Chen (sore back) will start for KC on Saturday. He was initially scheduled to pitch Thursday. RHP Kevin Correia will start for the Twins. ... There was a moment of silence before the game for the victims of the shootings Sunday at a Jewish community center and nearby senior living center in suburban Kansas City.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Players of the Game
Minnesota

J. Pinto
AB 3
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
Kansas City

A. Escobar
AB 3
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 

Related Video

December 23, 2014
Fantasy Update: Matt Asiata (0:32)
December 22, 2014
Bears at Vikings Preview
(2:51)
December 14, 2014
TOPS: NFL news with Jason La Canfora (12/14)
(2:47)
December 9, 2014
Fantasy Update: Charles Johnson
(0:40)
Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Darin Mastroianni, LF4000021 .000
Brian Dozier, 2B4010010 .210
Joe Mauer, 1B4010001 .277
Chris Colabello, RF4010000 .350
Trevor Plouffe, 3B4000002 .288
Josmil Pinto, DH3020100 .243
Kurt Suzuki, C4010012 .256
Aaron Hicks, CF3010011 .189
Pedro Florimon, SS2010001 .132
   a-Jason Kubel, PH1000002 .333
   Eduardo Escobar, SS0000000 .214
Ricky Nolasco, P0000000 .000
   Michael Tonkin, P0000000 .000
   Jared Burton, P0000000 .000
   Brian Duensing, P0000000 .000
Totals3308015  
a-flied out for Florimon in the 7th
Batting
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Chris Colabello 1
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Ricky Nolasco (L,1-2) 5.21155031 6.08
Michael Tonkin 0.1000000 2.70
Jared Burton 1000000 12.00
Brian Duensing 1000110 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Ricky Nolasco 108-75, Michael Tonkin 2-2, Jared Burton 11-7, Brian Duensing 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ricky Nolasco 8-5, Michael Tonkin 1-0, Jared Burton 1-2, Brian Duensing 2-0
Batters Faced - Ricky Nolasco 27, Michael Tonkin 1, Jared Burton 3, Brian Duensing 4
Kansas City Royals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Norichika Aoki, RF4110011 .264
Omar Infante, 2B4022000 .275
Eric Hosmer, 1B4021000 .298
Salvador Perez, C4000003 .278
Alex Gordon, LF4010000 .268
Billy Butler, DH3110111 .170
   Jimmy Paredes, PR-DH0000000 .000
Mike Moustakas, 3B4112002 .140
Justin Maxwell, CF4000021 .000
Alcides Escobar, SS3230000 .294
Jason Vargas, P0000000 .000
   Aaron Crow, P0000000 .000
   Louis Coleman, P0000000 .000
Totals34511514  
Batting
2B - Alex Gordon (5, Nolasco), Alcides Escobar (4, Nolasco)
HR - Mike Moustakas (2, Nolasco)
RBI - Omar Infante 2 (7), Eric Hosmer (5), Mike Moustakas 2 (5)
2-OUT RBI - Omar Infante (3)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Alex Gordon 1
DP - Infante-Escobar-Hosmer
Kansas City Royals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jason Vargas (W,2-0) 7700140 1.24
Aaron Crow 1000010 0.00
Louis Coleman 1100000 3.86
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Vargas 113-71, Aaron Crow 12-8, Louis Coleman 15-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Vargas 6-9, Aaron Crow 1-1, Louis Coleman 2-1
Batters Faced - Jason Vargas 27, Aaron Crow 3, Louis Coleman 4
Game Information
Attendance - 21192
Game Time - 2:39
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - David Rackley, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Brian Gorman, Third Base - Jim Wolf