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Kansas City at Minnesota

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Kansas City (69-55) «0000301116130
Minnesota (55-68)000000103470

Kratz, Vargas lead Royals over Twins 6-4

By JON KRAWCZYNSKI
AP Sports Writer
  •  

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Erik Kratz had played in only five games for Kansas City since being acquired from Toronto in a trade on July 28.

But the big guy always stayed ready and that discipline paid off Monday night to keep the Royals rolling.

Kratz homered twice after replacing an ailing Salvador Perez, and Jason Vargas pitched seven strong innings to lead the first-place Royals to a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

''You put your work in before the game as a bench guy to be ready to go in,'' Kratz said. ''Some people could say well, Salvi plays every day, so why not take a day off? In my opinion, what's the point of taking a day off if that might be the day you come in and play?''

Vargas (10-5) allowed one run on four this and struck out three, but had his scoreless innings streak snapped at 17 when Oswaldo Arcia hit a solo homer in the seventh. Perez had two hits and two RBIs before leaving in the seventh because of discomfort in his right knee, helping the Royals win for the 21st time in 26 games.

Kansas City extended its lead over the idle Detroit Tigers in the AL Central to two games.

Trevor May (0-2) gave up three runs on seven hits and walked four in 4 2-3 innings for the Twins.

When Perez left, Kratz came in as a pinch hitter and broke his bat on a pitch from Anthony Swarzak, but still managed to muscle it over the wall in left field for a 4-0 lead. Kratz added a solo shot to center in the ninth for his first multihomer game.

The drives proved even more important when Trevor Plouffe hit a three-run homer off Aaron Crow in the ninth inning.

''It's great to help the team out when you do get in there for any bench guy,'' Kratz said.

Greg Holland came on for his 38th save in 40 tries. Josh Willingham had three hits and Alex Gordon and Billy Butler each had two for the Royals, who have won eight straight series for the first time since 1991.

May made his major league debut on Aug. 9, and it was a rough one. He walked seven batters in two innings and gave up four runs. He breezed through four innings of his home debut, but walked the bases loaded in the fifth.

Perez followed with a two-run single and Butler added an RBI single to give the Royals a 3-0 lead.

That was enough for Vargas, who has dominated the Twins this season. He retired 10 in a row from the second through sixth while his offense built him a cushion.

''Salvi's a huge part of our team, but we have to keep him healthy and keep him in it for the long haul,'' Vargas said. ''For Kratz to come in and step up and go big fly twice was pretty nice, especially when they were able to extend the game a little bit there. Those two home runs really counted.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Royals: Perez is day to day with a sore knee. Manager Ned Yost said Perez tweaked a tendon in his knee while running the bases in the fifth inning, but was removed purely as a precaution.

Twins: Byron Buxton, one of the top prospects in baseball, flew to Fort Myers, Florida, to begin his recovery after a nasty outfield collision at Double-A New Britain. GM Terry Ryan said Buxton had a stiff neck and some headaches, but nothing more serious. Ryan said he doubts Buxton will play again this season.

''We're all fortunate it ended up the way it ended up,'' Ryan said. ''We've seen collisions in our day, but that one ranked right up there.''

UP NEXT

The Royals open a two-game interleague series in Colorado. RHP James Shields (11-6, 3.29 ERA) starts the opener against LHP Tyler Matzek (2-8, 5.50).

The Twins stay home for a three-game series against Cleveland. RHP Kyle Gibson (11-9, 3.96) starts the opener against RHP Trevor Bauer (4-7, 4.35).

EARLY EXIT

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire didn't stick around very long. When plate umpire Chris Segal called Joe Mauer out on strikes in the first inning, the mild-mannered first baseman argued that he fouled the third strike and it hit the dirt before Perez caught it. Segal disagreed, and Gardenhire came to Mauer's defense before returning to the bench. Moments later, Segal ejected Gardenhire after the conversation apparently continued from the dugout. It was the fifth time this season and 72nd time in his career that Gardenhire was ejected.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Kansas City

E. Kratz
AB 2
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 2
Minnesota

O. Arcia
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Kansas City Royals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLG
Norichika Aoki, RF4000000.268.335.340
   Lorenzo Cain, RF1000001.297.335.406
Omar Infante, 2B4100110.251.291.348
Salvador Perez, C3022000.268.305.417
   a-Erik Kratz, PH-C2222000.234.258.426
Billy Butler, 1B4021100.282.330.387
Alex Gordon, LF4020113.286.362.448
Josh Willingham, DH5130014.222.349.419
Mike Moustakas, 3B5010004.198.259.376
Alcides Escobar, SS3100101.278.315.370
Jarrod Dyson, CF3111100.287.338.349
Jason Vargas, P0000000.000.000.000
   Wade Davis, P0000000.000.000.000
   Aaron Crow, P0000000.000.000.000
   Greg Holland, P0000000.000.000.000
Totals38613653    
a-homered for Perez in the 7th
Batting
2B - Alex Gordon (29, May)
HR - Erik Kratz 2 (5, Swarzak)
RBI - Salvador Perez 2 (53), Erik Kratz 2 (12), Billy Butler (52), Jarrod Dyson (19)
2-OUT RBI - Salvador Perez 2 (16), Erik Kratz (4), Billy Butler (15), Jarrod Dyson (9)
Team LOB - 10
Kansas City Royals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jason Vargas (W,10-5) 7411131 3.17
Wade Davis 1000010 0.83
Aaron Crow 0.1333001 3.65
Greg Holland (S,38) 0.2000000 1.84
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Vargas 106-65, Wade Davis 14-10, Aaron Crow 23-14, Greg Holland 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Vargas 9-9, Wade Davis 1-1, Greg Holland 1-1
Batters Faced - Jason Vargas 26, Wade Davis 3, Aaron Crow 4, Greg Holland 2
Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLG
Danny Santana, CF4010011.315.352.465
Brian Dozier, 2B4000001.233.331.415
Joe Mauer, 1B4010011.274.350.375
Kennys Vargas, DH4110003.313.357.484
Oswaldo Arcia, RF4221010.230.305.435
Trevor Plouffe, 3B4113010.244.313.400
Chris Parmelee, LF4010000.252.303.381
Eric Fryer, C3000001.231.273.327
   a-Kurt Suzuki, PH1000000.306.366.400
Eduardo Escobar, SS2000100.270.314.392
Trevor May, P0000000.000.000.000
   Anthony Swarzak, P0000000.000.000.000
   Ryan Pressly, P0000000.000.000.000
Totals3447414    
a-popped out for Fryer in the 9th
Batting
HR - Oswaldo Arcia (12, Vargas), Trevor Plouffe (9, Crow)
RBI - Oswaldo Arcia (33), Trevor Plouffe 3 (58)
SB - Danny Santana (12, 3rd base off Vargas/Perez)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Danny Santana 1
DP - Escobar-Dozier-Mauer
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Trevor May (L,0-2) 4.2733410 9.00
Anthony Swarzak 3.1422021 4.19
Ryan Pressly 1211101 2.57
Pitches-Strikes - Trevor May 85-54, Anthony Swarzak 50-36, Ryan Pressly 26-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Trevor May 8-3, Anthony Swarzak 5-3, Ryan Pressly 2-1
Batters Faced - Trevor May 23, Anthony Swarzak 14, Ryan Pressly 6
Game Information
Attendance - 25559
Game Time - 3:09
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Chris Segal, First Base - Dan Iassogna, Second Base - David Rackley, Third Base - Field Culbreth