Twins ride bullpen to 5-3 win over Royals for series sweep

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Three consecutive wins has restored some confidence for the Minnesota Twins, an early boost for their final record.

After all, dropping their first nine games last year undeniably paved the way for a major league-leading and club-record 103 losses.

Jason Castro and Jorge Polanco hit consecutive RBI doubles in the seventh inning as the Twins dented Kansas City's bullpen again and beat the Royals 5-3 Thursday to sweep the season-opening series.

''It beats the alternative, as we know all too well from just a year ago,'' manager Paul Molitor said. ''But to get a couple wins under our belt here early, it's got to make those players feel awfully good about what they're doing.''

The Twins are 3-0 for the first time since 2007. The Royals have their first 0-3 start since 2001. This was Minnesota's first sweep of Kansas City in 18 series between them since April 2014. The Royals went 53-23 against the Twins over the last four seasons.

''We don't care who's standing across from us. We're going to go out there and take what's ours,'' said Max Kepler, who had an RBI double in the fifth and reached base three times.

Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas homered off Twins starter Kyle Gibson to take Jason Hammel off the hook in his Royals debut, but new left-hander Mike Minor (0-1) surrendered the two-runs in the seventh inning, when the Royals were outscored 14-0 in the series.

Taylor Rogers (1-0) worked the seventh for the victory, and Brandon Kintzler pitched a perfect ninth for his first save.

''Everybody's not walking on eggshells around here,'' said Twins right-hander Ryan Pressly, who escaped a one-out, bases-loaded situation in the sixth. ''We're going to keep this going, and it's going to be a fun year.''

The Royals walked 23 batters in the series.

''That's unheard of,'' Hammel said. ''That's just absurd. We've got to throw strikes.''

Sure enough, a one-out walk by Castro, already his sixth this season, was in the middle of a two-run second inning by the Twins that gave Gibson an early edge. Polanco had an RBI single during the rally.

''I think guys are just trying to get in a groove right now,'' Minor said. ''Beginning of the year. I don't really look at it too much.''

The Royals allowed 14 runs in eight relief innings in the series. The Twins got 10 scoreless innings from their bullpen, with five hits, two walks and 11 strikeouts.

''It'll iron itself out. We didn't have this issue in spring training, so it's just a little bump in the road for us,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said.

WHIFFING BUXTON

Byron Buxton fanned with the bases loaded to finish the sixth and is 1 for 14 with an infield single, a walk and seven strikeouts. Molitor said he's not going to move the 2012 second overall draft pick out of the third spot in the batting order.

ANOTHER DEBUT

Hammel began his 12th major league season, with his sixth different team. He signed a $16 million, two-year contract in February with the Royals, who needed a replacement in the rotation following the death of Yordano Ventura in a Dominican Republic car crash. Hammel gave up six hits and four walks in five innings.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Royals: Limited to 27 games last season by injuries to his thumb and knee, Moustakas is 4 for 13 with two homers to start 2017.

Twins: Perkins threw a bullpen session Wednesday, but progress in regaining strength in his surgically repaired left shoulder has been limited to ''baby steps,'' general manager Thad Levine said.

UP NEXT

Royals: Stay on the road with a visit to Houston for a three-game series starting Friday, with LHP Jason Vargas scheduled to start. Vargas returned from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery to make three starts at the end of last season. The Astros will send RHP Mike Fiers to the mound.

Twins: Travel to Chicago for a three-game series beginning Friday, with RHP Phil Hughes making his first start since June 2. A batted ball broke the femur bone in his left leg before Hughes was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome that required removal of a rib. For the White Sox, LHP Derek Holland will take the mound.

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Copyright 2017 by Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
KC0-3
000021000390
MIN3-0
02001020X590
  • W: T. Rogers (1-0)L: M. Minor (0-1)S: B. Kintzler (1)
  • HR: KC - M. Moustakas (2), S. Perez (1)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
A. Gordon LF50000032.083.154.083.237-1.5
M. Moustakas 3B51211011.308.308.7691.0776.5
L. Cain CF30100211.250.538.250.7882.5
E. Hosmer 1B40100004.182.182.182.3641.0
S. Perez C41211002.300.364.600.9647.0
B. Moss DH30000121.000.143.000.1430.0
P. Orlando RF31100113.200.273.200.4732.5
A. Escobar SS40100005.100.100.200.3002.0
R. Mondesi 2B40100023.100.100.100.2002.0
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    B. Dozier 2B51100024.231.333.231.5643.0
    M. Kepler RF40210100.333.429.417.8455.0
    B. Buxton CF40000115.071.133.071.2050.5
    J. Mauer 1B50000013.091.231.091.322-0.5
    M. Sano 3B32200101.444.5831.0001.5835.0
    J. Castro C32110102.500.750.6671.4176.0
    J. Polanco SS30220100.667.750.8331.5836.0
    E. Rosario DH20010212.222.364.222.5864.5
    D. Santana LF40100024.250.250.250.5000.0
      BATTING
      • 2B - A. Escobar
      • HR - M. Moustakas (2), S. Perez
      • RBI - M. Moustakas (2), S. Perez
      BATTING
      • 2B - M. Kepler, J. Castro, J. Polanco
      • RBI - M. Kepler, J. Castro (3), J. Polanco 2 (3), E. Rosario (2)
      BASERUNNING
      • SB - R. Mondesi
      BASERUNNING
      • SB - B. Dozier (3), E. Rosario
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      J. Hammel5.06334205.402.003.0
      T. Wood0.100011027.003.00-0.5
      P. Moylan0.20001100.001.50-0.5
      M. Minor (L, 0-1)1.03220106.003.00-6.5
      J. Soria1.00001200.001.003.0
      PITCHERSIP
      J. Hammel5.0
      T. Wood0.1
      P. Moylan0.2
      M. Minor (L, 0-1)1.0
      J. Soria1.0
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      K. Gibson5.05332525.401.407.5
      C. Breslow0.11001000.006.00-2.0
      R. Pressly0.20000000.000.000.0
      T. Rogers (W, 1-0)1.01001200.002.009.0
      M. Belisle (H, 2)1.02000200.002.002.0
      B. Kintzler (S, 1)1.00000100.000.0010.5
      PITCHERSIP
      K. Gibson5.0
      C. Breslow0.1
      R. Pressly0.2
      T. Rogers (W, 1-0)1.0
      M. Belisle (H, 2)1.0
      B. Kintzler (S, 1)1.0
      PITCHING
      • IBB - J. Hammel
      • Pitches-Strikes - J. Hammel 95-59, T. Wood 12-6, P. Moylan 10-5, M. Minor 17-13, J. Soria 20-11
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Hammel 4-9, M. Minor 1-1
      • Batters Faced - J. Hammel 25, T. Wood 2, P. Moylan 3, M. Minor 6, J. Soria 4
      PITCHING
      • WP - M. Belisle
      • IBB - T. Rogers
      • Pitches-Strikes - K. Gibson 81-53, C. Breslow 11-4, R. Pressly 7-5, T. Rogers 17-12, M. Belisle 18-13, B. Kintzler 11-6
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - K. Gibson 6-3, R. Pressly 1-1, T. Rogers 1-0
      • Batters Faced - K. Gibson 21, C. Breslow 3, R. Pressly 2, T. Rogers 5, M. Belisle 5, B. Kintzler 3
      PLAYERS OF THE GAME
      123456789RHE
      KC0-3
      000021000390
      MIN3-0
      02001020X590
      HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
      A. Gordon LF50000032.083.154.083.237-1.5
      M. Moustakas 3B51211011.308.308.7691.0776.5
      L. Cain CF30100211.250.538.250.7882.5
      E. Hosmer 1B40100004.182.182.182.3641.0
      S. Perez C41211002.300.364.600.9647.0
      B. Moss DH30000121.000.143.000.1430.0
      P. Orlando RF31100113.200.273.200.4732.5
      A. Escobar SS40100005.100.100.200.3002.0
      R. Mondesi 2B40100023.100.100.100.2002.0
      Total35392241022-----
        HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
        B. Dozier 2B51100024.231.333.231.5643.0
        M. Kepler RF40210100.333.429.417.8455.0
        B. Buxton CF40000115.071.133.071.2050.5
        J. Mauer 1B50000013.091.231.091.322-0.5
        M. Sano 3B32200101.444.5831.0001.5835.0
        J. Castro C32110102.500.750.6671.4176.0
        J. Polanco SS30220100.667.750.8331.5836.0
        E. Rosario DH20010212.222.364.222.5864.5
        D. Santana LF40100024.250.250.250.5000.0
        Total3359507721-----
          BATTING
          • 2B - A. Escobar
          • HR - M. Moustakas (2), S. Perez
          • RBI - M. Moustakas (2), S. Perez
          BATTING
          • 2B - M. Kepler, J. Castro, J. Polanco
          • RBI - M. Kepler, J. Castro (3), J. Polanco 2 (3), E. Rosario (2)
          BASERUNNING
          • SB - R. Mondesi
          BASERUNNING
          • SB - B. Dozier (3), E. Rosario
          PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
          J. Hammel5.06334205.402.003.0
          T. Wood0.100011027.003.00-0.5
          P. Moylan0.20001100.001.50-0.5
          M. Minor (L, 0-1)1.03220106.003.00-6.5
          J. Soria1.00001200.001.003.0
          Total8.0955770---
          PITCHERSIP
          J. Hammel5.0
          T. Wood0.1
          P. Moylan0.2
          M. Minor (L, 0-1)1.0
          J. Soria1.0
          Total8.0
          PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
          K. Gibson5.05332525.401.407.5
          C. Breslow0.11001000.006.00-2.0
          R. Pressly0.20000000.000.000.0
          T. Rogers (W, 1-0)1.01001200.002.009.0
          M. Belisle (H, 2)1.02000200.002.002.0
          B. Kintzler (S, 1)1.00000100.000.0010.5
          Total9.09334102---
          PITCHERSIP
          K. Gibson5.0
          C. Breslow0.1
          R. Pressly0.2
          T. Rogers (W, 1-0)1.0
          M. Belisle (H, 2)1.0
          B. Kintzler (S, 1)1.0
          Total9.0
          PITCHING
          • IBB - J. Hammel
          • Pitches-Strikes - J. Hammel 95-59, T. Wood 12-6, P. Moylan 10-5, M. Minor 17-13, J. Soria 20-11
          • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Hammel 4-9, M. Minor 1-1
          • Batters Faced - J. Hammel 25, T. Wood 2, P. Moylan 3, M. Minor 6, J. Soria 4
          PITCHING
          • WP - M. Belisle
          • IBB - T. Rogers
          • Pitches-Strikes - K. Gibson 81-53, C. Breslow 11-4, R. Pressly 7-5, T. Rogers 17-12, M. Belisle 18-13, B. Kintzler 11-6
          • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - K. Gibson 6-3, R. Pressly 1-1, T. Rogers 1-0
          • Batters Faced - K. Gibson 21, C. Breslow 3, R. Pressly 2, T. Rogers 5, M. Belisle 5, B. Kintzler 3
          • 7TH INNING
            Polanco doubled to left, Castro scored35
            Castro doubled to deep right center, Sano scored34
          • 6TH INNING
            Moustakas homered to right33
          • 5TH INNING
            Kepler doubled to deep right, Dozier scored23
            Escobar doubled to deep left, Orlando scored22
            Perez homered to left12
          • 2ND INNING
            Rosario reached on fielder's choice to second, Castro scored, Polanco out at second02
            Polanco singled to center, Sano scored, Castro to third01
          • 9TH INNING
            • Brandon Kintzler relieved Matt Belisle
            • A. Gordon: Ball, Gordon flied out to deep center
            • M. Moustakas: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Moustakas lined out to center
            • L. Cain: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Cain struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 8TH INNING
            • Matt Belisle relieved Taylor Rogers
            • S. Perez: Foul, Perez singled to shallow right
            • B. Moss: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Moss struck out swinging
            • P. Orlando: Strike swinging, Orlando singled to right, Perez to second
            • A. Escobar: Ball, Strike swinging, Escobar flied out to deep center
            • R. Mondesi: Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Perez to third, Orlando to second on wild pitch, Strike swinging, Mondesi struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • Joakim Soria relieved Mike Minor
            • B. Dozier: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Dozier struck out swinging
            • M. Kepler: Ball, Strike looking, Kepler lined out to right
            • B. Buxton: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Buxton walked
            • J. Mauer: Ball, Pickoff attempt, Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Mauer struck out swinging
            • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 7TH INNING
            • Taylor Rogers relieved Ryan Pressly
            • R. Mondesi: Ball, Mondesi singled to right
            • A. Gordon: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Strike swinging, Mondesi stole second
            • M. Moustakas: Strike looking, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Moustakas struck out swinging
            • L. Cain: Cain intentionally walked
            • E. Hosmer: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Hosmer grounded out to shortstop
            • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • Mike Minor relieved Peter Moylan
            • J. Mauer: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Mauer flied out to left
            • M. Sano: Foul, Sano singled to center
            • J. Castro: Foul, Castro doubled to deep right center, Sano scored
            • J. Polanco: Polanco doubled to left, Castro scored
            • E. Rosario: Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Rosario struck out swinging
            • D. Santana: Santana grounded out to third
            • End of the 7th (2 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 6TH INNING
            • K. Gibson Pitching:
            • M. Moustakas: Strike looking, Ball, Moustakas homered to right
            • L. Cain: Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Cain reached on an infield single
            • Craig Breslow relieved Kyle Gibson
            • E. Hosmer: Ball, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Hosmer singled to center, Cain to second
            • S. Perez: Strike looking, Ball, Perez flied out to shallow left
            • B. Moss: Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Moss walked, Cain to third, Hosmer to second
            • Ryan Pressly relieved Craig Breslow
            • P. Orlando: Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Orlando lined out to center
            • A. Escobar: Foul, Escobar grounded into fielder's choice to shortstop, Moss out at second
            • Middle of the 6th (1 Run, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • J. Hammel Pitching:
            • J. Polanco: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Polanco walked
            • Travis Wood relieved Jason Hammel
            • E. Rosario: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Ball, Rosario walked, Polanco to second
            • D. Santana: Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Foul tip, Santana struck out on foul tip
            • Peter Moylan relieved Travis Wood
            • B. Dozier: Strike looking, Ball, Dozier lined out to left
            • M. Kepler: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Kepler walked, Polanco to third, Rosario to second
            • B. Buxton: Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Buxton struck out swinging
            • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 5TH INNING
            • K. Gibson Pitching:
            • S. Perez: Ball, Perez homered to left
            • B. Moss: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Moss struck out swinging
            • P. Orlando: Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Orlando walked
            • A. Escobar: Foul, Escobar doubled to deep left, Orlando scored
            • R. Mondesi: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Mondesi flied out to center
            • A. Gordon: Strike swinging, Gordon grounded out to second
            • Middle of the 5th (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • J. Hammel Pitching:
            • B. Dozier: Strike looking, Dozier singled to center
            • M. Kepler: Foul, Ball, Dozier stole second, Kepler doubled to deep right, Dozier scored
            • B. Buxton: Ball, Foul, Foul, Buxton lined out to center
            • J. Mauer: Strike looking, Mauer lined out to center
            • M. Sano: Sano intentionally walked
            • J. Castro: Strike swinging, Castro flied out to shallow left
            • End of the 5th (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 4TH INNING
            • K. Gibson Pitching:
            • M. Moustakas: Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Moustakas singled to deep right
            • L. Cain: Strike looking, Foul, Cain reached on fielder's choice to pitcher, Moustakas out at second
            • E. Hosmer: Ball, Pickoff attempt, Hosmer grounded into double play first to shortstop to first to pitcher, Cain out at second
            • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • J. Hammel Pitching:
            • J. Castro: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Castro flied out to shallow center
            • J. Polanco: Strike looking, Polanco popped out to second
            • E. Rosario: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Rosario walked
            • D. Santana: Pickoff attempt, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Rosario stole second, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Santana struck out swinging
            • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 3RD INNING
            • K. Gibson Pitching:
            • A. Escobar: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Escobar grounded out to shortstop
            • R. Mondesi: Foul, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Mondesi struck out swinging
            • A. Gordon: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Gordon struck out looking
            • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • J. Hammel Pitching:
            • M. Kepler: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Kepler singled to center
            • B. Buxton: Pickoff attempt, Ball, Foul, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Buxton reached on fielder's choice to shortstop, Kepler out at second
            • J. Mauer: Ball, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Mauer grounded out to first, Buxton to second
            • M. Sano: Sano flied out to deep right
            • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 2ND INNING
            • K. Gibson Pitching:
            • S. Perez: Strike looking, Perez lined out to left
            • B. Moss: Strike looking, Moss grounded out to second
            • P. Orlando: Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Orlando struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • J. Hammel Pitching:
            • J. Mauer: Strike looking, Mauer lined out to center
            • M. Sano: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Sano singled to shallow center
            • J. Castro: Strike swinging, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Castro walked, Sano to second
            • J. Polanco: Ball, Foul, Foul, Polanco singled to center, Sano scored, Castro to third
            • E. Rosario: Foul, Rosario reached on fielder's choice to second, Castro scored, Polanco out at second
            • D. Santana: Pickoff attempt, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Strike swinging, Santana singled to left, Rosario to second
            • B. Dozier: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Dozier struck out swinging
            • End of the 2nd (2 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 1ST INNING
            • K. Gibson Pitching:
            • A. Gordon: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Gordon struck out swinging
            • M. Moustakas: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Foul, Moustakas flied out to right
            • L. Cain: Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Cain walked
            • E. Hosmer: Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Hosmer grounded into fielder's choice to shortstop, Cain out at second
            • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • J. Hammel Pitching:
            • B. Dozier: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Dozier grounded out to shortstop
            • M. Kepler: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Kepler flied out to deep center
            • B. Buxton: Buxton popped out to second
            • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)